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US Car Sales on the Rise in March

FCA, Ford, Toyota, Nissan all report gains.

by on Apr.01, 2014

FCA's Ram pickup enjoyed its best March sales total in 10 years.

Sales of new vehicles, stalled by bitter winter weather, showed signs of recovery during March as both Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Toyota and Nissan all reported sales gains for the month due to the strong sales of trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Both Chrysler and Ford beat expectations. General Motors delayed release to their monthly sales totals due to a technical problem.

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“We are entering the spring selling season on a high note as our Jeep and Fiat brands recorded their best sales months ever and Chrysler Group extended its streak in March to 48 consecutive months of year-over-year sales increases,” said Reid Bigland, head of U.S. Sales. “Our Ram pickup truck posted its best March sales in 10 years.”

Nissan's extremely popular Altima led the maker to a March sales increase.

Ford said sales increased 3% over year ago even as harsh winter weather persisted in many parts of the country.

“March sales turned noticeably higher mid-month and finished strong,” said John Felice, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “Fusion set an all-time record in March, as overall retail sales in the West continued to expand at the fastest rate in the nation – including California being up 32%. F-Series also had a very strong month, as did Lincoln MKZ.”

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas, also said last week that the uptick in sales will allow the company to reduce the inventories of unsold vehicles that had piled up during the winter months.

Toyota today reported its U.S. sales in March increased of 8.9% from March 2013 on a daily selling rate (DSR). On a raw-volume basis, unadjusted for 26 selling days in March 2014 versus 27 selling days in March 2013, the company’s sales increased 4.9% from year-ago month.

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“Solid March sales pushed first-quarter industry results ahead of last year’s pace despite one of the harshest winters on record,” said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager. “Toyota dealers had their two best sales weekends of the year late in the month, and we’re optimistic that momentum will spring us in into April.”

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Nissan Group’s March sales increased 8.3% as strong sales of the Altima, the best-selling mid-sized car in the U.S. during February, continued to propel the Japanese automaker’s results.

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Volkswagen of America reported a 2.6% sales drop as the German automaker’s sales slide slowed.

True Car estimates new car sales will hit the 16 million units mark for the first time since last fall.

“The spring thaw has resulted in a slight improvement in vehicle sales but not the nearly the improvement analysts hoped they would see,” according to Larry Dominque, True Car executive vice president.

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