Ford and Fiat Chrysler each reported this morning that March sales rose 8 percent while GM posted only a 0.9 percent gain due to a planned cutback in fleet sales.
Thanks to continued demand for trucks and Sport Utility Vehicles Ford report its best sales performance and first quarter since 2006. Sales of the F-150, long the nation’s top selling vehicle, broke the 70,000 mark in March rising 9 percent resulting in the truck’s best performance since 2007.
As has been the case for some time, Fiat Chrysler was propelled by demand for Jeeps with sales up 15 percent for its best March ever. Ram truck sales rose 11 percent. Chrysler brand sales fell 13 percent but that might change when the Pacifica minivan appears in showrooms this month. Fiat brand sales fell 24 percent.
GM sales to “retail” customers as opposed to rental fleets, rose 6 percent the company said with Chevy and GMC leading the pact. As with Ford, pickup truck sales helped out with GMC Sierra sales up 24 percent while Chevy Silverado demand increased 6 percent. Sales declined 5.1 percent at Cadillac and 11 percent at Buick.
Honda reported March sales increased 9.4 percent with its trucks and redesigned Civic setting March records. Acura sales rose 1.2 percent.
Toyota saw its sales fall 2.7 percent despite record sales of the Highlander and RAV4. Demand for the Lexus brand was off 2.8 percent.
There was a big 9 percent gain in sales over at Nissan with crossovers, pickups and SUV’s in strong demand, but it said car sales rose 16 percent as well. Infiniti sales rose an even 10 percent.
Sales were down 10.4 percent Volkswagen. But Audi posted a 7.5 percent increase in demand led by the A4 sedan, and Q7 SUV.