March vehicle sales continue upward trend

Apr 1, 2011

Many automakers reported U.S. car, truck and SUV sales in March 2011 to once again surpass year-earlier numbers. GM announced a 9.6% jump over March 2010, despite curtailing its incentives. The Detroit Free Press reported GM incentives for February 2011 “averaged 13% of the price a customer paid for a GM vehicle.”

In a statement, GM reported a first-quarter rise of 38% in total sales, with fleet sales and fuel-efficient vehicles, including its Chevy Cruze, fueling the upswing. GM predicts sales of the Cruze to surpass 50,000 in 2011.

Ford, however, continues its sales march, outselling GM in the United States. With an overall sales 16% gain in February — including a reported 21% uptick in trucks — Ford topped GM.

Toyota is the one major automaker that reported sales for March 2011 compared with year-ago March sales dropped, by about 9%.

Of note, Toyota’s Prius hybrid has seen sales steadily rise along with the prices of a gallon of gas; but the earthquake and tsunami in Japan limited its production, leaving fewer of the imported cars available. As well, Toyota’s U.S. arm recently announced it would raise the price of most of its Toyota, Scion and Lexus vehicle brands.

Kia Motors America announced on April 1 its best ever monthly sales, a 44.7% increase from March 2010, and a 34.7% increase over last month. This marks Kia’s American division’s seventh consecutive month of record sales. And when paired with its sibling automaker Hyundai, the two automakers had a combined 37% jump in sales.

Other automakers reported the following March 2011 over March 2010 results: Mazda, up 33%; Chrysler, up 31%; Nissan, up 27%; Honda, up 24%; Volvo, up 21.6%.