GENERAL MOTORS +12% (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC only)
General Motors throttled back on incentives in March, and lost its number-one position as a result. GM says that its retail sales still beat Ford.
Reflecting the small-car trend, the Cruze in March was (almost) Chevrolet's best-selling car, falling less than 50 units short of the fleet-fattened Impala. But small-car popularity didn't help the Aveo (-32%), nor did the white-hot mid-size car market aid the Malibu (-12%). The Equinox (+17%) stayed strong but the Traverse (-5%) slipped a bit.
Buick was the best-performing GM division in March, and the only one whose sales increase outpaced the market overall. Nearly all the credit here goes to the addition of the Regal, as the LaCrosse and Lucerne were down and the Enclave was up by only a couple hundred units.
The CTS (+36%) was the best news at Cadillac this month, and accounted for nearly all of the division's rather weak increase. Even the SRX (+3%) petered out in March, while the Escalade slid 5%.
The Terrain (+29%) and the Sierra (+17%) supplied most of the forward momentum at GMC.
TOYOTA MOTOR SALES -6%
The March results were disappointing at Toyota, which was the only major automaker to see a sales decrease versus one year ago. The caveat here, however, is that last March was actually a very big month for Toyota, as it unleashed a flurry of incentives to power out of its recall fiasco.
The Camry (-13%) fell out of the top spot as the bestselling car, beaten by both the Honda Accord and the Nissan Altima. The Prius (+58%) got a boost, perhaps due to fears of the Japanese earthquake/tsumani causing shortages. Evidently there were no such worries about the Yaris (-40%), however. The Sienna minivan (+34%) is still doing well, but the faltering RAV4 (-38%) was outsold by both the Honda CR-V and the Ford Escape.
The good news: the CT200h has become the third most popular Lexus car, behind the ES and the IS sedans. The bad news: it appears to have decimated sales of the HS250h (-85%).
Scion + 58%
It's not so surprising that the new tC coupe is selling at better than twice the rate of its predecessor, but what is surprising is that it appears to have had a rub-off effect on its showroom-mates, as both the xB (+21%) and xD (+43%) have also reversed their downtrend.