Ford, the world's second-largest vehicle manufacturer, said on Tuesday that its US April sales rose 12 per cent over last year, making its current year sales 9 per cent above the first four months in 1999. A robust economy and substantial gains in some of its luxury marques have continued to propel sales in the US to record levels.

Total US Ford sales for April were 372,719 vehicles, compared with 345,672 in the month last year. For the year so far, sales were 1.45m vehicles, compared with 1.326m. US sales of Ford trucks increased 10 per cent in April to 215,899. Notably, Jaguar's US sales in April rose 98 per cent to 4,024 cars, from 2,109 last year. For the year, US Jaguar sales are up 135 per cent at 14,650. Lincoln posted a 44 per cent gain to 16,540 units, compared with 11,911 last time.

Separately, General Motors, the world's largest vehicle maker, said total vehicle sales were 426,618 in April, compared with 434,128 last time. Factoring in a shortened selling month of 25 days this year, as opposed to 26 last year, GM said April vehicle sales rose 2 per cent. Car sales in April fell 2.5 per cent to 213,519, while total truck sales rose 7 per cent to 213,099.

Volkswagen of America said it saw its best April US sales in 23 years, with a 15 per cent increase to 30,546 cars sold, from 26,626 last year. Mitsubishi Motors' American unit said it saw a 49 per cent increase in April sales to 24,423 units from 16,370 in the month last year.