With another March in the history books so is winter, arguably the most deplorable season of all, especially if you live in an area that receives all manner of weather. Luckily for the car business unpredictable conditions didn’t keep new-vehicle shoppers at bay, quite the contrary actually.
Compared to March 2014, overall sales grew by 0.5 percent exceeding 1.5 million units, which is a small increase but a step in the right direction. Looking at the first three months of the year deliveries fell just shy of 4 million. That’s a 5.6 percent increase compared to the same time period in 2014, an even better sign.
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As with life in general there’s no participation trophy in the car business; not every brand can be a winner. Accordingly, here’s a list of the automakers that did the best last month and some that missed the mark.
Winner: Chrysler +14.9 Percent
Chrysler posted a 15 percent year-over-year gain last month, making it the Pentastar brand’s best March since 2013. Deliveries exceeded 30,000 units, propelled by strong sales of the 200 sedan, which posted a 155 percent gain, enough to make March the car’s best month ever.
Winner: Audi +20.0 Percent
Year over year, Audi’s sales grew by 20 percent last month topping 17,000. In the first three months of 2015 four-ring dealers have sold more than 40,000 cars and crossovers. March was its 51st consecutive month of record sales in the U.S.
Winner: Jeep +23.5 Percent
Along with Chrysler, Jeep sales grew last month, growing nearly 24 percent. This strong showroom performance marks its 18th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains. Driving that increase was the Cherokee and Patriot, which both set all-time records. Overall Jeep dealers delivered more than 71,500 vehicles in March.
Winner: Land Rover + 54.1 Percent
Land Rover’s year-over-year sales last month increased by more than 54 percent. Total deliveries exceeded 6,700 vehicles. So far for 2015 sales are up nearly 30 percent at just shy of 17,000 units. Clearly high-end sport utility vehicles are in demand as evidenced by this brand’s sales.
Winner: MINI +59.9 Percent
But topping even Land Rover’s impressive gains was MINI. This BMW subsidiary’s deliveries increased by nearly 60 percent last month. Total sales were just shy of 6,000 units. So far in 2015 nearly 13,000 MINIs have been sold.
Loser: Tesla -20.0 Percent
Tesla’s sales fell by 20 percent in March compared to the same month last year. Total deliveries are estimated at about 1,200, compared to approximately 1,500 in 2014. For the first quarter they’ve delivered about 3,600 cars, which is a 20 percent decline.
Loser: Bentley -21.4 Percent
Sales at Bentley have cooled off as well. The British purveyor of ultra-luxury cars sold 220 units last month, down from the 280 it delivered in March of 2014. That drop resulted in a decline of more than 21 percent.
Loser: Dodge -24.0 Percent
Unlike its sister divisions, Chrysler and Jeep, the Dodge brand didn’t fare so well last month. Its sales dropped by 24 percent. The company cites the ongoing changeover at its Windsor, Ontario plant where the Grand Caravan and Town & Country minivans are built for this decline. Still, there were a couple highlights last month. The Dart compact car and Journey crossover both had their best March in history.
Loser: Smart -24.8 Percent
It’s a good thing an all-new smart car is on the way because this brand’s sales are dropping at a rather alarming rate. Year-over-year deliveries fell by nearly 25 percent last month to just 583 cars. The quarterly picture is even grimmer. So far in 2015 smart has sold just 1,533 units, a decline of nearly 32 percent compared to the same time period last year.
Loser: Scion -25.2 Percent
But topping even smart’s poor March showing is Scion. Toyota’s not-so-youthful division did quite poorly last month with deliveries falling by more than 25 percent year over year. Sales decreased to slightly more than 4,400. Year-to-date deliveries are off by 17 percent with fewer than 12,000 cars sold.
[Source: Automotive News]