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.
Honda/Acura: American Honda Motor Co. reported an 8.4 percent sales decrease from a year ago, with a total of 126,999 (based on the dialing selling rate) units delivered. Honda Division posted sales of 115,833 units for the month, a 7.7 percent decreased from a year ago. Company officials attributed the declines to exceptionally strong sales last March.
Continuing its record-setting pace, the Honda CR-V posted a 35.3 percent increase in sales and an all-time sales record with 30,868 units sold compared to a year ago.
Acura Division sales in March totaled 11,166, down 14.6 percent compared to March 2011. The TSX model registered a double-digit sales increase, jumping 15.1 percent from a year ago to 3,555 units sold. Sales of the TL reached 2,923 units sold, a year-over-year decrease of 29.4 percent.
Hyundai: The Korean carmaker realized an all-time monthly sales record of 69,728 units, a 13 percent increase from a year ago. For the first quarter, Hyundai sales were up 15 percent from a year ago. Retail sales through dealerships rose 33 percent from a year ago (fleet mix remained low at 11 percent for the month), with sales of the Accent, Sonata, and Elantra leading the way with gains of 28 percent, 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Sales of the Genesis and Equus rose by 30 percent from a year ago, and 35 percent from February. Sales of the company’s CUVs remained flat.
Mazda: Realizing its best March since 2008, the carmaker reported that sales increased 4.8 percent from a year ago to 32,376 units. Year-to-date sales through March are up 27.1 percent vs. a year ago, with 82,023 vehicles sold. In its first full month of sales, the all-new Mazda CX-5 totaled 3,629 units, while sales of the Mazda3 increase 6.2 percent from a year ago to 13,235 vehicles sold. Sales of the Mazda 6 jumped 90 percent from a year ago to 7,855 units sold.
Mercedes-Benz: Breaking records for March and first quarter sales, the German carmaker reported a 7.7 percent improvement in sales (23,134 units sold) from year ago and a 15.3 percent first quarter gain (61,513 units sold) vs. a year ago. Sales were led by the C-, E- and M-Class model lines. Sales of the C-Class totaled 6,342 units, while E-Class sales totaled 5,570 units. The M-Class SUV posted a 45.8 percent sales gain from a year ago, with 4,070 units sold. Other strong performers were the company’s CLS four-door couple (242.9 percent sales gain) and the SLK roadster (sales increased 179.3 percent from a year ago).
Nissan/Infiniti: Nissan North American set an all-time, single-month sales record in March, with sales jumping 12.5 percent from a year ago to 136,317 units. Nissan Division sales also set a new sales record, jumping 14.8 percent to 126,132 units sold. Sales of Infiniti vehicles were down 9.8 percent from a year ago to 10,185 units.
Sales of the Altima hit a new monthly record, posting a 27.1 percent sales gain (sales totaled 41,050 units), while the Nissan Rogue set its own all-time volume record with 16,972 units delivered (up 19.7 percent from a year ago). The Nissan Juke also set its own sales record, with deliveries increasing 1.9 percent from a year ago to 4,165. The Versa also recorded a record March, with sales jumping 40.7 percent to 15,587 units retailed.
Toyota: Reporting its best March sales results since 2008, the Japanese carmaker posted an 11.2 percent sales gain (based on a daily sales rate) from a year ago. Sales totaled 203,282 units. For the first quarter, Toyota Motor Sales reported sales of 487,284 units, an increase of 9.4 percent from a year ago. The Toyota Division realized a 13.5 percent sales increase, with sales for the month of March totaling 183,142 units. The Lexus Division reported total sales of 20,140 units, a 6.1 percent decrease vs. a year ago.
Passenger car sales jumped 19.5 percent to 113,135 units sold for the company’s Toyota Division, with the Camry and Camry hybrid leading the way with a 30.5 percent sales increase from a year ago. The Prius family outsold every previous record, with sales totaling 28,711 units. That amounted to a 48.8 percent sales increase from a year ago. Avalon sales also reached record levels, with sales increasing 20.8 percent to 3,327 units. Corolla reported sales of 28,289 units.
Toyota Division light trucks recorded sales of 70,007 units, a 5.1 percent increase from a year ago. The RAV4 posted monthly sales of 17,367 units, a 4.1 percent increase from a year ago, while the Highlander and Highlander Hybrid posted sales of 11,044 units for the month, a gain of 8.4 percent from a year ago. Sales of the Tacoma increase 19.3 percent from a year ago to 12,547 units, while Tundra sales increased 10.3 percent to 8,594 units. The 4Runner recorded sales of 4,065 units, and the Sienna recorded sales of 10,240 units.
Scion posted sales of 6,694 units, a 16.5 percent gain from a year ago. Leading the way was the tC sports coupe, which recorded total sales of 2,275 units. The all-new iQ posted sales of 1,285 units, while the xD recorded sales of 1,080 units.
Lexus reported passenger car sales of 11,477 units, a 5.4 percent gain from a year ago. Leading the way was the ES sedan with 3,141 units sold. The GS and GS hybrid posted combined sales of 2,558 units, a 472.3 percent sales gain from a year ago. The IS sports sedan recorded sales of 2,717 units, and the CT 200h hybrid compact posted sales of 2,223 units. Lexus luxury utility vehicles reported sales of 8,663 units, a 17.9 percent decrease from a year ago, while the RX and RX hybrid posted combined sales of 7,057 units. The LX recorded sales of 666 units, an 88.3 percent sales gain from a year ago.
Volkswagen: The German carmaker sold 36,588 units, a 34.6 percent sales increase from a year ago. This was the sixth straight month that sales for the carmaker increased by at least 30 percent. Sales of the Passat totaled 10,032 units, the model’s best month ever. The Jetta remained the volume leader for the company, with sales totaling 12,947 units. TDI models accounted for 23.1 percent of sales in March. Sales of the 2012 Beetle totaled 1,969 units, while the Tiguan posted its best March ever with 2,659 units sold. The Touareg realized a 53.9 percent sales increased, with sales totaling 748 units.