Ford, G.M. sales down as buyers spurn SUVs and look for fuel efficiency

Detroit automakers Ford and G.M. are cursing Prius drivers right about now. Sales figures and market share for both companies were down in April, as car buyers turned their fickle affections from gas-gulping SUVs to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles — specifically those manufactured by Asian rivals Toyota and Nissan. In fact, Toyota reports that April was the most successful month in its history, with sales up 21.3 percent from April 2004, thanks in large part to booming demand for its hybrid Prius and other gas-sipping vehicles. A Ford sales analyst acknowledged the role of record gas prices in decreased SUV sales, but G.M. argued that gas prices weren’t making much of a difference, pointing to an increase in large truck sales.