March Auto Sales: FCA, Ford Jump 8%; GM Flat

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FCA US LLC and Ford Motor Co. both posted an 8 percent increase in sales in March when compared to the same month last year, while General Motors Co. sales remained relatively flat.

Ford’s 8 percent increase is U.S. sales in March (254,711 units) was the automaker's best March sales performance since 2006.

"Customers continue buying high-end SUVs and trucks, helping the Ford brand increase its average transaction prices by more than $1,600 per vehicle in March — nearly double the industry average," says Mark LaNeve, vice president, of U.S. marketing, sales, and service at Ford. "We have been seeing solid sales momentum in the first quarter across our entire portfolio, with car, SUV, and truck sales up across the board."

LaNeve says SUV sales increased by 13 percent in March when compared to March 2015. Edge sales were up nearly 50 percent, Escape sales increased by 8 percent, and Explorer sales were up 4 percent for the month.

Lincoln sales were up 11 percent in March when compared year over year, with Lincoln SUV sales seeing a nearly 30 percent increase in sales in March compared to March 2015.

FCA US today reported an 8 percent increase in U.S. sales (213,187 units) when compared to March 2015. Like Ford, FCA's March sales represent its best March in a decade.

"Strong Jeep and Ram brand sales gave us a fast start to the important spring selling season and extended our year-over-year monthly sales gains to six full years," says Reid Bigland, senior vice president of sales at FCA – North America. "As consumers continue to shift their buying preference towards utility vehicles and trucks, they are walking directly into the FCA wheelhouse."

Jeep's sales increase was driven by its Jeep, Dodge, and Ram Truck brands, with the Jeep brand leading the way with a 15 percent sales increase in March when compared year over year. Bigland says the Jeep brand has set a sales record in every month dating back to November 2013. Sales of the Jeep Compass were up 53 percent, its best March sales ever. In addition, the Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Cherokee, and Jeep Renegade each recorded their best March sales ever.

The Dodge brand saw an 11 percent increase in March when compared year over year. Sales of the Dodge Journey were up 8 percent, its best March sales ever. Ram Truck sales were up 11 percent in March, while Chrysler brand sales were down 13 percent for the month and Fiat brand sales were down 24 percent in March compared year over year.

General Motors Co. reported a nearly 1 percent increase in sales (193,524 units) in March compared year over year, which the company says is due to significant reductions in daily rental units. Retail sales were up 6 percent for the month.

"The strong retail and commercial sales GM has been delivering are the result of a multi-year strategy to strengthen our brands, attract new customers, and grow profitably," says Kurt McNeil, vice president of U.S. sales operations at GM. "We are growing retail sales faster than the industry, and we are doing it with disciplined incentives and inventories, and lower rental deliveries. Our business is very healthy, and we are going to manage it with conviction to keep it that way."

Chevrolet sales increase about 1.5 percent in March when compared year over year, and GMC sales jumped nearly 7 percent. Buick sales were down 11 percent in March and Cadillac sales were down 5 percent. ​

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