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Pickups, SUVs fuel April auto sales

DETROIT — US car buyers came out of hibernation in April to spend on pickup trucks and SUVs, fueling an auto sales rebound that analysts expect to last the rest of the year.

Total sales grew to about 1.4 million cars and trucks, up about 8 percent from a year ago. Sales ran at an annual rate of just over 16 million, according to Autodata Corp.

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Nissan led the way with an 18.3 percent increase over a year ago, with sales of the Rogue small SUV up almost 27 percent. Chrysler posted a 14 percent gain, boosted by a jump in sales of Jeeps. Both companies reported record April sales. Toyota sales grew by 13 percent.

General Motors, which has suffered through bad publicity from a string of embarrassing safety recalls, posted a 7 percent gain, led by the Buick Encore small SUV and the Chevy Silverado pickup truck. And Hyundai sales rose a little more than 4 percent on strong SUV sales. Honda sales grew only 1 percent, while Ford sales fell by a point, although sales of its F-Series pickup rose 7.4 percent.

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