Counting Cars

SAAR Finishes at 13.1 Million, Ford Bests GM for First Time in 13 Years

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NISSAN, HYUNDAI, KIA SET SALES RECORDS, SAAR @13.1 Million

See Company Results: U.S. Sales Summary Table

After instigating an incentive war last month, GM pulled back on incentives, and saw its daily sales fall from February to March. Ford, which was late to the first quarter incentive game, increased spending during the month, selling 208,714 light vehicles, up 14.2% on a daily basis versus year-ago, and overtaking GM for the first time since August 1998.

(Reports of Ford outselling GM in light vehicles in February 2010 were based on early data - when light vehicle splits were finalized later in the month, GM had inched ahead of Ford.)

GM's 206,621 light vehicles represented just a 5.8% increase over year-ago. This was the smallest non-"Cash-for-Clunkers" related year-over-year growth rate for the company since December 2009.

Chrysler Group saw daily sales during "Truck Month" rise 26.1% over year ago, up 13.9% over February's DSR. Chrysler year-to-date sales are up 22.4% over Q1 2010.

Toyota meanwhile registered a 9.2% decline from year-ago, when the company came within a hair of of taking the No. 1sales spot from General Motors. Toyota's sales of 176,222 units were in line with ananlyst expectations however, whereas GM fell well below early forecasts.

Nissan had its best volume month in the U.S. ever - with sales of 121,141 units - up 22.2% over year-ago. Korea auto makers Hyundai and Kia also set U.S. sales records in March, with 61,873 and 44,179 devlieries respectively.

Honda's daily sales were up 18.9% over year-ago, lagging overall industry growth somewhat.

March sales equated to a 13.1 million units SAAR, and brought Q1 sales to 3.05 million, a 20.1% increase over same-period 2010.

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John Sousanis

John Sousanis oversees WardsAuto data operations as Director of Information Content, and is Ward’sAuto sales analyst. Follow John on Twitter @CountingCars.  

Haig Stoddard

Haig Stoddard is a veteran automotive industry analyst. His current focus is North America production and longterm sales forecasting.
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