Automakers experienced mixed sales results in March. Toyota’s sales surged to 194,905 vehicles in March for a 4.4 percent improvement over March 2014. Hyundai, up 12 percent; Kia, up 7.3 percent; and Subaru, up 10.4 percent; all thrived in March despite bitter cold covering much of the country. In contrast, Honda’s sales fell 5.2 percent, Nissan slipped 3 percent, and Volkswagen’s sales were down 18.2 percent from a year ago.
Record-breaking snow and ice in many parts of the country hampered auto sales. Car sales fell 1.4 percent from February 2014 while SUVs and light trucks picked up the slack, rising 11.8 percent. Toyota’s sales were up 12.1 percent, enough to beat Ford for the country’s number two spot in sales behind General Motors. BMW, up 14.5 percent; Honda, up 4.1 percent; And Subaru, up 18.6 percent; all saw gains last month.
Auto sales took off last month, setting the tone for what dealers expect will be a successful sales year. Light trucks drove gains in January, with sales up 19.3 percent from January 2014. Cars trailed with a 7.7 percent improvement. Honda saw sales rise 11.6 percent, Lexus’ sales was up 31.2 percent, and Toyota’s sales rose 13.2 percent. Volkswagen’s sales remained almost perfectly flat from 2014, with a sales bump of just ten vehicles.
Record numbers of auto recalls did little to slow sales last month, and in fact may have helped drive traffic to dealerships. Kia saw sales rise 34.6 percent from December 2013; Subaru, the year’s fastest growing automaker, had sales up 24.3 percent; and Toyota enjoyed a 12.2 percent improvement. For the 13th consecutive year the Camry was the top selling car in America with 428,606 vehicles sold.
Low gas prices and interest rates combined with clever Black Friday marketing at the end of the month to create the perfect storm of sales. Honda was up 4.9 percent, Subaru was up 23.6 percent, Toyota sales rose 2.3 percent, and Volkswagen enjoyed a sales bump of 3.2 percent. VW’s Audi brand led international luxury sales in growth with an increase of 22 percent.
“The industry is closing out 2014 on a strong note,” said AIADA President Cody Lusk. “Gas prices, interest rates, and winter weather are creating a particularly friendly market for SUVs and trucks.”
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