Despite higher gas prices and panic over Japan’s earthquake, and its subsequent effect on auto production, March 2011 was a positive month for the industry, with sales up 17 percent compared to the previous year.
Among the Big 3, Ford managed to outsell General Motors for the first time in a year, with a 16 percent gain, while Chrysler was up 31 percent. Toyota was the only major auto maker to lose ground, with sales falling 6 percent, while Kia and Honda posted gains of 45 percent and 25 percent respectively. Nissan recorded a record month with 121,141 total units sold, a 28 percent increase from the previous year.
Among premium brands, MINI recorded a 69 percent bump and BMW was up 12 percent. Mercedes saw sales up 37 percent while Smart sales dropped by 37 percent. Lexus posted modest gains of 2 percent despite Toyota’s downward trend, and Audi recorded a 14 percent increase while parent company Volkswagen saw sales rise 20 percent.
[Source: Automotive News]