Most analysts expected that U.S. sales overall being reported Tuesday would be down largely because of the slumping housing market, rising consumer debt and no pent-up demand for vehicles.
Gasoline prices also are at or near $3 per gallon, and many consumers were expected to delay auto purchases until they find out what will happen to gas prices during the upcoming summer driving season.
The decline at Toyota Motor Corp. are counter to a long trend of rising sales, sometimes in double digits.
Toyota sales, which include the Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands, dropped 4.4 percent to 210,457 last month from 219,965 in April 2006, the company said Tuesday.
Ford Motor Co., meanwhile, reported its U.S. sales fell 12.9 percent in April versus a year ago largely because of slumping car sales. Ford sold a total of 227,619 light vehicles last month, down from the 261,381 the company sold in April 2006. Car sales were off 23.6 percent, while truck sales were down 5.7 percent, the company said.
General Motors Corp. sales also were poor, down 9.5 percent from April of last year, while DaimlerChrysler AG sales were up 1.2 percent. GM sold 307,554 light vehicles in April, down from 339,796 in the same month last year.
DaimlerChrysler's overall sales increased to 213,999 from 211,365 because of an increase at its Chrysler Group.
Chrysler sales rose by 1.6 percent from 190,095 in April of last year to 193,104 last month.