CHICAGO The top-selling
automakers in the United States sold more than 1.25 million
vehicles in March, 3.2 percent higher than in March last year,
prompting several manufacturers to call it their best March in
Year-to-date sales by the top
automakers totaled nearly 3.17 million vehicles, a 6.4-percent
improvement from the same period a year earlier thanks to a
surge in pickup sales.
"This is our best result for any
March in five years," Kurt McNeil, vice president of U.S. sales
operations for Detroit-based General Motors Co., said during
GMs monthly sales call. "We are seeing good growth in the
pickup truck segment. As a percent of industry sales, its
(up) 1.2 points for the quarter vs. a year ago. Our full-size
pickup truck (sales rose) 21 percent. We see truck sales fueled
primarily by growth in housing."
McNeil said the only headwinds
are higher taxes and lower government spending. "Everything
else seems to be pretty positive: jobs, housing, available
consumer credit, stock market performance and fuel price
stability," he said.
"Full-size pickups continue to
outpace the industry," Erich Merkle, Ford Motor Co. U.S. sales
analyst, said during the Dearborn, Mich.-based automakers
monthly sales call. "This represents a departure from what we
have been seeing since the recession.
"We anticipate the (truck)
segment will outpace the overall industry (in March) with a
year-over-year increase in the mid- to high teens," he said,
estimating that the full-size pickup segment represented 11.6
percent of industry sales in March compared with 10.5 percent a
Ford posted its best March sales
in six years and its best monthly sales performance overall
since May 2007, said Ken Czubay, vice president of U.S.
marketing, sales and service.
First-quarter F-Series pickup
sales totaled 168,843 vehicles, the best first-quarter sales
performance since 2007, he said. "We are pleased with the
numerical size of the full-size pickup truck business, and the
segment share is improving even beyond seasonality. America is
really buying pickup trucks."
Ford previously estimated
full-size pickup sales would total about 50,000 vehicles per
month but has been surpassing that expectation by up to 17,000
"Trees dont grow to the
sky, but we can definitely meet any projected market demand for
(the) F-Series for the foreseeable future, even as hot as
its running right now," Czubay said.