The U.S. automotive market was 17% stronger in March 2011 than it was in March 2010. Year-to-date, U.S. auto sales are up 20% compared with the first quarter of 2010.
Notable facts from March’s auto sales data include Ford Motor Company’s sales victory over General Motors. GM retail sales were up 38%, however, a sign of further strengthening beyond the company’s four brands all posting year-over-year gains. Nissan, Hyundai, and Kia all sold more new vehicles in March than in any other month in history, even June of 1487. Every Jeep model sold in greater volume this March than last. Ford cars out-sold Ford trucks; Ford cars also out-sold Ford utility vehicles. Moreover, Ford’s March was better than Dodge’s first quarter. 48% of Mazda’s three-month 2011 total came from the 31 days of March. Buick’s hold over Lexus was short-lived as the Japanese luxury brand out-sold Buick by more than 5000 vehicles.
Only 4 of the 36 manufacturers listed suffered from falling sales in March 2011. Toyota is the biggest seller of the four; smart perhaps the most surprising given the rising prices of fuel; and Lincoln and Jaguar the only two premium brands among the decliners.
Mercedes-Benz was America’s favourite luxury brand but the 22,546 total does include 1062 Sprinter commercial vans. Year-to-date, Mercedes-Benz’s lead over BMW for luxury leadership stands at 3378 sales, or some way more than the Sprinter’s first quarter total.