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March Auto Sales Hit High Double-Digits

Most automotive suppliers saw sales increases for the month of March—some as high as 48%

Ford, GM, Honda, and Toyota were among the list of automotive suppliers that achieved sizeable increases in March auto sales. Industry analysts, who say the near across-the-board performance points to signs of a rise in consumer confidence and a strengthening economy.

A summary of suppliers’ performance in March:

  • Ford Motor Co.: 40%
  • General Motors: 21%
  • Honda: 22%
  • Hyundai: 15%
  • Nissan: 43%
  • Toyota: 48%

In addition to the monthly gains, many suppliers reported respectable sales performance by other standards. For instance, Ford said its Q1 sales were up 36%, while Toyota sold 558 more of the recalled models—Camry and Corolla sedans—in March than in January and February combined. Sales of the models that Toyota has recalled since November rose 48% in March after dropping 11% the previous two months. Sales of two sport utility vehicles on the recall list, the Rav4 and Highlander, more than doubled, according to Toyota.

At GM, executives reported sales of its remaining “core” brands grew 43%—all without overly generous discounts or incentives. Sales of Buick-brand vehicles alone jumped 76%, according to Susan Docherty, GM vice president of marketing, adding that Buick and GMC dealers in the U.S. reported sales for those brands in March that were 54% higher than March 2009. Total combined sales for GM’s four brands—Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC—were 185,406 during the month, a 34% increase from February 2010, Docherty, noted.

GMC sales increased by 45% for the month, led GM Terrain sales, which were up 331% percent for the month versus the vehicle it replaced. According to GM, Chevrolet dealers reported sales of 133,165 units–a figure 41% higher than March 2009. The Chevrolet Equinox continued to sell at a brisk pace, with sales up 194%, compared to last year. Year-to-date, sales of the Equinox have more than doubled.  Lastly, Cadillac March sales increased 42% on high demand for the Cadillac SRX; March sales of the SRX were 550% higher than a year ago, and are up more than 425% for the year, according to GM.

"Our March results show continued progress toward our growth plan,” Docherty said. “By investing in our brands and remaining disciplined in our approach to the U.S. market, we posted solid results.”

Docherty reports many of GM’s new vehicles are being well-received by customers for many good reasons, including quality, safety, excellent fuel economy as well as higher resale values.”

Not all suppliers shared in the hit parade. At Chrysler, for example, sales declined 8% in March.
 

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