Partial data released last week show March easily will extend the streak of monthly U.S. sales increases to seven and cap off the best first quarter ever (see Ward's Automotive Reports — March 15, '99, p.1). And the tenor of the press releases accompanying the sales reports was much the same as in the previous six months with references to all-time or long-time records.

DaimlerChrysler Corp., the No.3 volume seller in the U.S., reported March sales (excluding Mercedes) were up 16.5%, based on daily selling rates. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. recorded its 11th straight increase over year-ago with a 10.6% rise, while Volkswagen of America Inc. — up 48.1% from last year — has had 17 straight increases, several well over 50%. Other companies reporting last week included: American Honda Motor Co. Inc., up 1%; American Isuzu Motors Inc., up 4.5%; Hyundai Motor America, up 18.1%; Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America Inc., up 61.1%; Nissan North America, up 4.3%; Subaru of America Inc., up 19.5%

Reporting March sales this week are Ford Motor Co. and some small companies on April 6, and General Motors Corp. on April 7.