March was a good month for the Big 3


Detroit continues its celebration of good sales numbers, and it will bode well for continuing ad spend in the category: Ford reported March sales of 212,777, up 19% from the same month a year ago. That beats GM’s 206,621 sales for the month, an 11% increase from a year ago, the second time since 1998. However, GM remains the top seller in Q1 with 592,545 vehicles sold vs. Ford’s 496,720 units. Chrysler Group scored sales of 121,730 vehicles in March, up 28% from February, and a 31% increase from a year ago. Its pick-up sales were also up an impressive 46% vs. a year ago.

Sales of the Chrysler 200 — the car featured in Chrysler’s Super Bowl commercial with Eminem — were up 191% in March compared with February. Jeep sales were up 36% in March with all five Jeep models contributing to the gain.

Toyota’s March U.S. sales were down 5.7% to 176,222 versus last March. However, sales of its hybrid-electric Prius shot up 52% for the month. Lexus sales were flat in March compared to last year, while light trucks sales decreased 20.4% YOY for March.

Nissan did quite well, reporting a 27% rise in U.S. sales for March, a monthly record. The company sold 121,141 Nissan and Infiniti autos last month, an increase from 95,468 a year earlier, reported The Detroit News.

For GM, sales of its new 2011 Chevrolet Cruze were up 17% for the month, with the subcompact racking up four times as many sales as its predecessor, the Cobalt.