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DETROIT (AP) -- Americans' appetites for gas-slurping pickups and sport utility vehicles boosted business for several automakers last month, even as high fuel prices helped contribute to record sales for gas-electric hybrid cars.

Ford Motor Co.'s overall sales for April were below expectations, the company said Monday, while DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group performed slightly better than expected. A computer glitch forced General Motors Corp., the world's largest automaker, to postpone its April sales report until Tuesday.

Among foreign automakers, Toyota Motor Corp. reported its eighth consecutive best-ever April, helped in part by strong demand for its gas-electric hybrid Prius sedan. Toyota's U.S. sales were up 10 percent for the month.

Honda Motor Co., the only other automaker currently selling a hybrid vehicle on the U.S. retail market, said its Civic hybrid posted a second consecutive month of record sales. So far this year, Honda has sold 9,023 Civic hybrids, 11 percent more than at this point last year.

Nissan Motor Co.'s U.S. arm also had another positive month, up 14 percent behind solid sales of its new Titan full-size pickup and Armada full-size SUV.

"The industry is benefiting from a healthy first-quarter economy," said Jim Press, chief operating officer of Toyota's U.S. division. "Despite rising fuel prices, economic indicators such as gross domestic product, employment and consumer spending were all up, giving a boost to April automotive sales."

Industrywide, analysts predicted sales of new cars and trucks would be up 3 percent to 5 percent in April, helped in part by ongoing incentives and consumers spending tax refunds.

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Just an indicator that Ford needs to return to 'design', instead of cost-cutting. GM as we've seen, has returned to 'gut' design (Thank God, finally) and Chrysler has some kick-a$$ products also. The 300C is a viable competitor in the luxury market, and the Crossfire is cool (even though its pretty much Daimler).

With the exception of the '05 'Stang and the Ford 500, the rest of their lineup is pretty tame.

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