Nissan North America +43%
Nissan grabbed more market share in March, even in the face of a resurgent Toyota. Infiniti helped as well.
The Versa (+105%) continues to do well, although it had some rather unexpected company this month, with the Armada (+171%), the Frontier (+129%), and the Maxima (+93%) also making headlines. Only the sports cars disappointed, the 370Z (-33%) and the GTR (-37%).
Infiniti + 37%
The new M (+62%) did well, as did the G (+45%), while the EX (-20%) and the FX (-14%) declined, and the QX56 (+242%) confounded.
Chrysler Group -8%
After reporting the tiniest of year-over-year sales increases in February, Chrysler resumed its declining ways in March, with total sales 8% below March 2009. Chrysler is still putting lots of cars into fleets, but it has reduced incentive spending from the pay-anything year-ago levels.
The Town & Country (+30%) and Sebring (+69%) offset the PT Cruiser (-70%) and the 300 (-20%).
The Compass (+27%), Patriot (+26%), Grand Cherokee (+32%), and Commander (+29%) overcame weakness in the Wrangler (-16%) and the Liberty (-11%). Dodge -19%
Challenger (+36%) was the only bright spot among grim stats for the Avenger (-31%), Caravan (-32%), and Caliber (-12%). Ram -11%
Hyundai was not as hot as might have been expected, trailing the overall market. Like Honda, Hyundai likely suffered as a result of Toyota's incentive spending. Kia's year-over-year sales growth outpaced Hyundai's in March, a situation that is likely to continue this year, as Kia rolls out its new Sportage this summer and Optima this fall.
The redesigned Tucson (+129%) and Sonata (+53%) led the charge for Hyundai; the company claimed that, counting only retail sales, the Sonata captured third place among mid-size sedans.
Kia's surging models expressed their gains in multiples of year-prior sales: Optima (2x), Sorrento (3x), and Soul (4x). No surprise, then, that the brand had its best ever March.
VW Group +39%
The Volkswagen Group had another strong month in March, with VW leading the way but Audi close behind.
Volkswagen +41 %
The good news was everywhere at VW: Golf/GTI (+152%), Tiguan (+42%), Jetta (+24%), Passat (+73%), Touareg (+90%); everywhere except the CC (-15%). Audi +34%
Audi looked strong across the board, but standout gains came from the A5 (+155%, thanks to the addition of the Cabriolet), the A3 (+100%, with half of those TDIs), and the A6 (+98%).
Of all the manufacturers who posted increased sales in March, Subaru's was most impressive, because it was just about the only nameplate that is actually coming off a good 2009. Its 2010 sales, in fact, are the company's best ever for the month of March.
The new Legacy (+124%) and Outback (+111%) lead the way, naturally, but the Forester (+24%) and Impreza (+7%) helped too. Only the Tribeca (-57%) continues to disappoint.