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Sales Continue 14 Million-Unit Pace in March

April 05, 2012

Total light vehicle sales paced at a 14.37 million annual rate in March, with unit sales jumping 12.7 percent to 1.4 million from the year-ago period, according to Autodata Corp. The industry’s performance in March also capped off the best quarter since 2008. Big winners were Chrysler Group LLC and Volkswagen, while General Motors, Ford and Toyota also realized notable gains.

Audi: Sales for the German carmaker jumped 18 percent in March from a year ago to 11,585 units. Top performers were the A6, with sales jumping 104.3 percent to 1,479 vehicles sold. Sales of the A7 were also notable, with 798 vehicles moved during the month. The A5 experienced a 23.5 percent increase from a year ago, with sales totaling 1,714. Sales of the A8, A7, A6 and Q7 represented 29.4 percent of the company’s sales mix in March.

BMW/MINI: Sales for the German carmaker rose 13 percent to 29,806 units. Year to date, sales jumped 16.6 percent to 75,729 vehicle sold, with the carmaker realizing its best quarter since its record year in 2007. Sales of BMW-branded vehicles were up 18 percent, with the X5 SAV (up 41.3 percent to 2,841 units), 5 Series (up 21.4 percent to 5,451 units), 6 Series (up 1,050 percent to 759 units), and the 7 Series (up 24.6 percent to 1,280 units) leading the way.

MINI USA realized a 3.6 percent decrease from the year-ago period, with sales for the month of March totaling 5,866 units. Year to date, the brand achieved its best first quarter since its record year in 2011, with sales increasing 14.9 percent to 14,180 units.

Chrysler Group: The domestic carmaker realized its best sales month in March in four years, with sales climbing 34 percent from the year-ago period to 163,381 units. Chrysler brand’s flagship Chrysler 300 and 200 each posted triple-digit year-over-year gains, with the later setting a new monthly sales record. The Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan each posted double-digital sales gains, while Jeep brand sales were up 36 percent — marking the best March sales since 2007. Jeep’s March performance was led by the Grand Cherokee (up 43 percent), which realized its best March sales month in six years. Dodge brand sales were up 18 percent, marketing the best March sales month since 2008.

Ford: The carmaker posted its strongest March sales in five years, with sales increasing 5 percent from a year ago to 223,418 units. For the first quarter, sales were 9 percent vs. a year ago, with 539,247 vehicles sold. Leading the way were the Ford Fusion, which realized its best sales month ever with 28,562 units sold, Focus, which realized its best March with 28,562 vehicles sold, and the Edge, which recorded its best March with 14,058 units sales. The F-Series also realized its best March sales month since 2007, with sales rising 9 percent from a year ago to 58,061 units sold. Vehicles equipped with the company’s EcoBoost technology represented 41 percent of F-150 sales, the company reported.

General Motors: The company became the first U.S. automaker to sell more than 100,000 cars in a single month touting 30 miles per gallon in highway driving. Company officials estimated that fuel-efficient vehicles represented 40 percent of sales for the month of March. Overall, the company realized a 12 percent sales gain from the year-ago period, with sales totaling 231,052 units. Total GM passenger car sales increased 22 percent, with small and compact cars up a combined 62 percent. Compact crossover sales were up 47 percent and mid-size car sales were up 38 percent. Full-size pickup sales were up 14 percent.

Chevrolet brand sales increase 17 percent from a year ago, with every car line posting sales gains. Sales of the Sonic totaled 8,251, with model sales increasing steadily every month since its launch last August. Volt sales were 50 percent higher than last December, which was the best month for the model since its launch. Cruze deliveries totaled 21,607 units, marketing the car’s seventh straight month of sales exceeding 20,000 units.

Driven by sales of the Sierra and Terrain, GMC sales jumped 12 percent year over year. Equinox sales were up 34 percent from a year ago, while the Cadillac CTS experienced a 15 percent sales increase.

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