The sales figures you see below aren't quite what they seem. If you look at just the left column where the battle between green and red cells is almost at a draw, you might think that April 2012 was a step backwards in terms of sales momentum for the auto industry. That column, however, is practically irrelevant this month.
Shift your head a little to the right and read the DSR (Daily Sales Rate) column. That's the important column this month. People usually ignore this column because they don't understand its purpose or because its data looks so similar to the left column, but this month it means everything.
Why? Because there were 24 selling days for the auto industry last month, versus 27 selling days in April 2011. Usually there's only a single-day variance between months or no variance at all, but three selling days is a chasm to overcome and means that if you're only comparing raw numbers like the left column does, the entire industry was at a three-day disadvantage last month compared to the same month one year ago.
The DSR column, on the other hand, shows the change in average number of vehicles sold per day during April of this year and last. This is the more accurate representation of how each automaker performed in April, and as you can see, nearly all continued their momentum of increased sales with the usual suspects occupying those bottom red cells.
Check out how the entire auto industry did in the monthly sales chart below, and visit our By the Numbers section to see all past months.
*Brands and companies are displayed in descending order according to their percentage change in volume sales. There were 24 selling days in April 2012 versus 27 selling days in April 2011, so there will be a difference between monthly sales volume and the average daily sales rate (DSR) for each brand/company. Also, brands are combined and reported as companies only if their sales figures are released jointly.