Daimler, BMW post strong U.S. auto sales in March image

Daimler AG on Friday reported March sales of 22,546 vehicles, a 12.6% improvement over March 2010 and the company’s highest March volume and first quarter on record. 21,484 passenger cars, light truck vehicles and 1,062 Sprinter vans are included in this total. On a year-to-date basis, the 55,995 vehicles sold represent a 10.7% increase.

The highest volume performers for the month were the C- and E-Class model line, the automaker said.

The C-Class – the gateway to the Mercedes-Benz brand for younger and first-time Mercedes-Benz buyers – led the pack with sales of 6,542, up 8.9% over March 2010. The 9th generation E-Class continued its strong momentum with sales of 6,107, up 21.1% over last year. MBUSA’s SUV, the M-Class, finished third in volume with sales of 2,792, up 29.6% compared to March 2010.

Smart USA recorded 425 sales in March 2011. Retail sales increased nearly 50 percent month-over-month from February 2011as a result of higher consumer demand for fuel efficient vehicles due to rising fuel prices.

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The BMW Group in the U.S. (BMW and MINI combined) reported March sales of 26,382 vehicles, an increase of 21.7 percent from the 21,670 vehicles sold in the same month a year ago.

Year-to-date, BMW Group is up 18% on sales of 64,958 in the first three months of 2011 compared 55,051 in the same period in 2010.

Sales of BMW brand vehicles increased 12.4% in March for a total of 20,295 compared to 18,060 vehicles sold in March, 2010.

Year-to-date, the BMW brand is up 13.6% on sales of 52,617 January to March compared to 46,323 sold in the first three months of 2010.

In March, best performing vehicles included the new X3 SAV – now on sale in the U.S. for two full months – up 270% to 2,648 units; the 5 Series, up 55.6% to 4,491 units and the 7 Series, up 40% to 1,027 units.  The BMW SAV segment (X3, X5, X6) continues to show growth with sales up 36.5% from the previous March.

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photo credit: Getty images