April autos sell at a pace of 17.4M – CNBC

Wall Street analysts say the U.S. auto market is close to a cyclical peak and that more production cuts, which hurt profits, could be needed to keep inventories of vehicles from ballooning later in the year.

“We continue to believe sales growth will be muted this year,” Joseph Spak of RBC Capital said in a note to investors. Inventory data issued early on Tuesday, pointed to some possible “risk to North American production over the coming months,” Spak added.

The sluggish pace of U.S. economic growth adds to concerns that the auto industry recovery could run out of fuel.

Among other automakers, Toyota Motor reported a 3.8 percent increase in sales, to 211,125 units, pushed higher by sales of Highlander, RAV4 and 4Runner and Lexus’ LUV and crossover models.

“The industry had its strongest April in more than 10 years, possibly a best-ever month,” Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager, said in a statement.

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