Light-vehicle sales in the United States surged 6 percent in March to 1.54 million units, topping analysts’ forecasts. The seasonally adjusted sales rate for the month to 16.4 million units from 15.3 million units a year ago. Car sales in the US hiked 1 percent while light-truck deliveries jumped 11 percent in March.
The sales onslaught was led Chrysler Group which grew 13 percent in the month. Chrysler was Nissan Motor Co.’s with 8 percent gain. Ford Motor Co. and General Motors were up 3 percent and 4 percent respectively. Japanese carmaker Toyota Motor Corp. rose 5 percent in the month of its first sales hike.
More customers came visiting dealership in the second half of March when temperatures were rising up and snow started to melt in more populated locations in the US. John Felice, Ford's vice president for U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in a statement that March sales turned noticeably higher mid-month and finished strong, following a softer January and February.
GM also ended three straight months of decline in the US in March, with its brands except Cadillac posting increases. Chevrolet saw sales grew 3 percent while and GM and Buick posted 7-percent and 13-percent climbs, respectively. Cadillac, however, posted a 6-percent drop in March.
GM said its retail sales surged 7 percent in March while fleet sales dipped 5 percent, no thanks to a planned reduction in rental deliveries. GM's commercial fleet sales grew for the fifth month in a row in March by 5 percent. Analysts and carmakers described the auto industry’s rebound from January and February as impressive.
Sales in March were also helped by five full weekends. Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager, said in a statement that solid sales in March pushed industry results in the first quarter of 2014 ahead of last year’s pace despite experiencing one of the harshest winters on record.