NISSAN NORTH AMERICA +27%
Nissan again picked up market share this month, thanks to some very big results from its mainstay models.
Even in a big month for midsize sedans, the Altima's performance (+31%) was impressive, as it passed the Camry and became the fourth-best-selling nameplate overall. The Sentra saw sales double, perhaps at the expense of the Versa (-20%) and, to a lesser extent, the Cube (-28%). In an indication of the changing zeitgeist in the SUV market, the Juke nearly outsold the Pathfinder and the Xterra combined. But it was the Rogue (+69%) that had a real powerhouse month.
Infiniti couldn't keep up with Nissan, or the market overall. The division was paced by the new QX (+30%), followed closely by the G (+24%).
Once again, the Korean wonder twins gobbled up market share with a year-over-year sales increase that zoomed ahead of the industry overall. As in February, Kia outpaced Hyundai.
The new Elantra (+134%) has officially caught fire, as it outsold all other small cars except the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla in March. Meanwhile, the Sonata (+21%) continues to power ahead, cresting the 20k mark this month. The new Tucson (+46%) and the old Accent (+36%) also enjoyed nice increases. The Equus had a rather inauspicious debut (241 units) and the Santa Fe (-40%) continues to slide.
Kia's box-fresh lineup is making big leaps, headlined by the Sportage (+234%) and the Optima (+90%). The not-quite-as-fresh Sorrento is up by a more modest 20%, the Forte by 56%, and the Soul by 96%.
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP +20%
For VW, it's all Jetta. The new model's 85% gain accounted for the vast majority of VW's sales increase. The CC (+17%), the Golf/GTI (+6%), and the Tiguan (+13%) provided some token assistance.
The new A8 continues to do well, but it's still only half the volume of its two German competitors. Both the Q5 (+23%) and the Q7 (+37%) were strong, while the A4 (+12%) was somewhat less so.
6 more Bentleys were sold this March than last, which translates into a 5% increase.