Industry Records 1.4% Sales Increase in March
After three months of harsh winter storms, new-vehicle sales in March rose 1.4% from a year ago to 3.74 million units, according to Autodata Corp. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) stood at 16.4 million, up from last March’s 15.3 million rate and up from 15.34 million in February. The following is a breakdown of sales performance by manufacturer:
BMW: The BMW Group reported an 8.1% increase in March sales vs. one year ago, with sales totaling 35,839 units. On a year-to-date basis, sales were up 2.8% from a year ago on sales of 81,228 units in the first three months of the year. BMW Brand Sales increased 18.6% from a year ago to 32,107 units. On a year-to-date basis, sales increased 11.5% from the same period last year to 72,377. Sales for MINI USA dropped 39.8% from a year ago to 3,655 units sold. On a year-to-date basis, sales were down 38.4% on volume of 8,657 units.
Chrysler: Chrysler Group LLC reported its best March sales since 2007, with sales increasing 13% from a year ago to 193,915 units. The Jeep (up 47%), Ram Truck (up 29%) and FIAT (up 24%) brands each posted year-over-year sales gains vs. a year ago, with Jeep posting the largest gain of 144% despite the recall of the Jeep Liberty. Chrysler is the only brand to show a decrease of 23% on year-over-year basis.
Six Chrysler Group vehicles set sales records in March, including the Jeep Compass, Patriot, Dodge Journey and FIAT 500L. The Jeep Wrangler and Ram Cargo Van also logged their best ever March, while the Dodge Grand Caravan had the largest year-over-year percentage sales increase of any Chrysler Group models in March.
Ford: The domestic automaker realized its best March sales in eight years. Retail sales totaled 244,167 units, a 3.3% increase from a year ago. The Ford Fusion posted a record sales month with 32,963 cars sold, up 9% from last year’s record month, while the F-Series broke the 70,000-unit mark in March.
Led by the MKZ, Lincoln sales increased 72% from a year ago — the brand’s best-ever sales month. March also marked the sixth straight month of positive sales for Ford’s luxury brand. And over the last five months, Lincoln sold 43,445 units, a 27% increase over the same period one year ago.
General Motors: The domestic automaker reported a 4.1% sales increase vs. one year ago, with the company delivering 256,047 vehicles in March. On a year-to-date basis, however, sales declined a slight 2.3%. Officials said they expect to see solid economic growth in the upcoming months.
Sales for the Chevrolet Silverado, the 2014 North American Truck of the Year, were up 14%, while sales of the GMC Sierra were up 23%. Deliveries of the Corvette were up 221% from a year ago. As for Cadillac, the brand’s CTS sedan drove an 11% increase in retail sales for CTS models, while sales of the SRX were up 37% from a year ago.
Sales of the Buick Regal were also up 52% from a year ago, while sales of the Encore increased 71% vs. March 2013.
Honda: American Honda reported a 2% decrease in sales from a year ago, with sales totaling 133,318 units. The company’s Acura division, however, realized a 10.4% increase in sales vs. one year ago, with sales totaling 15,580 units. Leading the way was the MDX, which realized an 80% sales increase from a year ago. Sales of the brand’s flagship model totaled 5,793 units. Additionally, sales of Acura trucks rose 45.8% from a year ago, with sales totaling 10,387.
The Honda division recorded sales of 117,738, with the Accord leading the way with March sales totaling 33,962 units. Sales of the Civic and CR-V both eclipsed the 27,000-unit mark, while Odyssey sales rose above the 10,000-unit mark.
Hyundai: The Korean automaker reported a slight 1.9% decreased in March sales, which totaled 67,005 units. On a month-to-month basis, however, sales were up 37% from February. Leading the way was the Santa Fe, which realized a 36.7% sales increase from a year ago. Sales of the Tucson rose 13.6%, while Equus sales were up 13.8%. Sales of the Sonata and Veloster were up 6.8% and 3.3%, respectively.
Mazda: The automaker reported its best-ever sales for March, with sales increasing 9% from a year ago to 34,903 units. The MX-5 also realized its best March since 2009, with sales increasing 31.1% from a year ago to 751 units sold. Additionally, ALG reported that the 2014 Mazda3 has the highest residual value in its segment, while KBB.com listed the entire Mazda brand as the most affordable nonluxury brand to own over a five-year period.
Mercedes-Benz: The German automaker reported its best first quarter sales ever, with March sales rising 11% from a year ago to 30,091 units sold. The Mercedes-Benz brand alone sold 29,316 units in March, a 12% increase from a year ago. On a year-to-date basis, sales rose 5.8% to 77,238 units.
The E-Class took the top spot with 6,335 units sold, a 58% increase from the same month last year. Sales of the C-Class totaled 5,660, while sales of the M-Class totaled 4,052 units, up 15.7% from March 2013. Sales of the company’s flagship S-Class totaled 2,299 for the month, up 89.1%.
Mitsubishi: The OEM reported its best March in six years, with sales increasing 70% from a year ago and 24% on a year-to-date basis. In total, the automaker sold 8,996 units in March. Outlander realized its best March sales since 2008, with sales rising 59.9% for the month and 22.4% year to date. Additionally, Lancer sales in March were up 72.4%, while sales of the Lancer Evolution were up 27.1%.
Nissan: The Japanese automaker reported an 8.3% increase in March sales vs. a year ago, with sales totaling 149,136 units — the company’s best month in 12 of the last 13 months. Sales of the all-electric Nissan LEAF set a March record, with sales increasing 12.1% from a year ago to 2,507 units. Nissan Altima sales totaled 35,921 units in March, its best sales month since March 2013. Sales of the Nissan Juke also reached a new monthly high, with sales increasing 77.3$ from a year ago to 6,943 units.
Infiniti reported sales of 12,494 units in March, an increase of 12.5% vs. one year ago. Sales of the all-new Infiniti Q50 luxury sports sedan totaled 3,795 units, while overall sales of Infiniti sports sedans, including the Infiniti G37, rose 27.9% for the month.
Toyota: Toyota Motor Sales reported a 4.9% increase in March sales vs. one year ago, with sales totaling 215,348 units. Toyota division sales were up 2.5%, totaling 186,755 units. Lexus sales increased 23.3% from a year ago to 28,593 units.
By model, the Toyota Camry posted sales of 42,000 units, while sales of the all-new Corolla totaled 30,000 units. Sales for Toyota’s truck division were up 10%, while the RAV4 realized its best-ever first quarter with more than 20,000 units sold. As for Lexus, the IS posted a 117% increase, while sales of the GS were up 32%. Sales of the RX closed in on the 10,000-unit mark, while sales of the brand’s luxury utility vehicles were up nearly 20% from a year ago.
Volkswagen: March sales for the German automaker were down 2.6% from a year ago, with sales totaling 36,717 units. Sales of the Jetta Sedan totaled 13,687 units for the month, up 6.3% vs the prior year, while the Passat realized its best March ever with sales totaling 11,050 units.
Audi realized its best-ever March and its 39th consecutive record sales month. Audi sales finished 7.5% ahead of the 13,253 units sold in March 2013. Through the first quarter, sales totaled 35,228, a 3% increase from one year ago. Sales of the A6 increased 26.7% from a year ago, while sales of the Q7 increased 45.8%.
Porsche reported a 9.2% sales increase vs. one year ago and a 5% sales increase on a year-to-date basis. The automaker realized its all-time best March, with 3,808 units delivered. The Cayenne continued to be the automaker’s most popular model with 1,862 sold units. Sales of the Boxter and Panamera totaled 617 and 442 units, respectively.
Follow @FI_Magazine on Twitter