Auto sales in the U.S. rose by 3.4% year-over-year to 1.45
million vehicles in March, the best monthly sales in almost six
years. This translated into a seasonally adjusted rate (SAAR) of
15.27 million units for the year, up about 8.0% from 14.14
million units in the same month of 2012. Better construction
market, cheap financing, strong pent-up demand and improving
consumer confidence continue to fuel sales growth.
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All the six major automakers posted a single-digit rise in sales
during the month. Among them,
Honda Motor Co.
) topped in terms of sales growth. Let us take a look at the
numbers posted by these automakers.
Ford Motor Co.
) sales rose 5.7% to 235,643 vehicles, driven mainly by the
impressive sales of its revamped Fusion sedan and Escape SUV.
Fusion sales grew 6% while Escape sales soared 28% during the
General Motors Company
) posted a 6.4% rise in sales to 245,950 vehicles in March,
driven by strong sales of its Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck
with an 8.4% increase. Notably, sales of its Chevy Traverse
crossover SUV surged 55% to nearly 11,000 units.
Chrysler Group - controlled by Italy's
) - recorded a 5.0% rise in sales to 171,606 vehicles. The
automaker's sales were mainly boosted by recovering pickup truck
sales during the month. Ram pickup was the hot selling model in
the month with a 25% increase.
Toyota Motor Corp.
) sales edged up 1.0% to 205,342 units due to poor Toyota
division sales. Lexus sales escalated 15.1% while sales of Camry
and Prius models declined in the month.
Honda Motor recorded a 7.1% rise in sales to 136,038 vehicles
after reporting a drop in the previous month. The company's sales
were mainly boosted by a 30% increase in sales of redesigned
Accord midsize sedan.
Nissan Motor Co.
) posted a meager 1.0% rise in sales to 137,726 vehicles. Nissan
Division saw its highest volume ever, delivering 126,623
vehicles, up 0.4% from the prior year. Infiniti deliveries went
up 9.0% to 11,103 units in the month.
Among the other automakers, sales of
) inched up 3.1% to 37,704 vehicles. Sales of its Audi
luxury-brand grew 14.4% to 13,253 vehicles. Meanwhile, Korean
automaker Hyundai Motor Co.'s sales dipped 2.0% to 68,306
vehicles in the month.
Strong pent-up demand, easier car finance and improving
macroeconomic conditions will continue to act as a catalyst to
rejuvenate U.S. auto sales to the pre-recession level. Good news
is that improving auto sales will also help the overall economic
recovery in the U.S. being a key industry for growth. Full year
sales are expected to exceed 15 million units compared with 14.5
million units in 2012.
GM expects a 7% rise in industry sales in 2013. Meanwhile, Ford
predicted an 8% gain in the year, which reflects more than a
threefold rise compared with the overall economic growth of
2%-2.5% forecast by the automaker.