Domestic Automakers Increase U.S. Sales in March, Led by Chrysler Group's 31 Percent Increase

By Liz Opsitnik
Friday, Apr 01 2011 11:21

March 2011 U.S. new vehicle sales figures are in and most automakers did relatively well compared to last March. Some automakers continued to offer enticing new car incentives last month, while others decreased incentives. Zero percent auto loan rates, auto lease deals and cash incentives were available across many automakers in March.

Although General Motors pulled back its new car incentives a bit in March, the automaker sold 206,621 vehicles, which is an increase of 11 percent compared to March of last year.

"March sales demonstrated our newest models continue to win over customers," said Don Johnson, vice president, U.S. Sales Operation. "Vehicles like the Chevrolet Cruze and Equinox put us in great position to benefit from consumer's increasing desire for fuel-efficient vehicles."

Ford's 19.2 percent increase compared to March 2010 was aided by the new Ford Explorer, which the automaker says had its best sales month since June 2007. Ford sold 12,482 Explorers, which is an increase of 111 percent compared to the same month a year ago. Ford sold 212,777 total vehicles in March and outsold rival GM by thousands of vehicles for the first time since 1998. Ford slightly outsold GM in February 2010.

"With gasoline prices eclipsing $3.50 a gallon, consumers are placing a high priority on fuel efficiency in every size and kind of vehicle," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. "Customers are rewarding Ford for our investment in new products as well as more efficient engines and transmissions, which save them money at the pump whether they drive Fiestas or F-Series trucks."

Chrysler Group saw a 31 percent increase compared with its new car sales in March 2010. Chrysler Group says this was its best March since 2008.

"Our pickups and sport-utilities have been strong performers in the market, and now we are seeing our cars gaining momentum in the marketplace as well," said Fred Diaz, president and CEO - Ram Truck Brand and lead executive for U.S. Sales.

March 2011 U.S. auto sales:

GM: up 11.4%

Ford: up 19.2%

Chrysler Group: up 31%

Toyota: down 10.1% (includes Scion)

Lexus: down 1.5%

Nissan: up 28.4%

Infiniti: up 13.5%

Honda: up 20.7%

Acura: up 3.6%

Mercedes-Benz: up 12.6%

smart USA: down 37.2%

BMW: up 12.4%

MINI: up 68.6%

Subaru: up 13.2%

Kia: up 44.7%

Hyundai: up 32%

Mazda: up 33.3%

Mitsubishi: up 39%

Suzuki: up 11%

Volkswagen: up 22.7%

Porsche: up 36%

Audi: up 14.3%

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