GM and Ford Both Up 43% in March

Toyota’s zero percent auto loan incentives and discounted lease offers sparked an incentive war in March, forcing many automakers to match the offers to be on a level playing field. The automaker was up 35.3 percent overall in March.

"Toyota’s strong sales performance in March reflects our customers’ continued confidence in the safety and reliability of our vehicles and their trust in the brand," said Don Esmond, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "We are standing by our cars, and we’re grateful that our customers are standing by Toyota."

GM’s four core brands (Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, GMC) were up 43.3 percent compared to last March. Buick, which is undergoing a transformation to attract younger buyers, saw a sales increase of 76 percent in March, led by the Buick LaCrosse, with an increase of 236 percent for the month.

Ford saw an increase of 42.7 percent in March, and said its numbers were the highest monthly sales increases since February 1984.

March is full of record breakers. Hyundai was up 15.4 percent in March compared to the same month a year ago, which marks an all-time sales record for both the first quarter of 2010 and for the month of March, the automaker said. Kia also had a good month, saying it was its best March on record.

Subaru said it has broken sales records for eight of the last 10 months. Audi, up 33.5 percent in March, said it achieved the best first-quarter sales since it began marketing cars in the U.S.

March 2010 U.S. auto sales
GM: up 43.3%
Ford: up 42.7%
Chrysler: down 8%
Mercedes-Benz: up 28.3%
smart USA: down 61.2%
BMW: up 3.1%
MINI: up 0.1%
Porsche: up 9%
Audi: up 33.5%
Toyota: up 35.1%
Lexus: up 36.5%
Honda: up 16.9%
Acura: up 25.2%
Nissan: up 44%
Infiniti: up 37.3%
Hyundai: up 15.4%
Kia: up 23.5%
Mazda: up 5.5%
Subaru: up 46%
Suzuki: down 72%
Mitsubishi: up 17.6%
Volkswagen: up 40.9%