In the United States, most of the automakers including GM, Ford, Chrysler – all reported higher U.S. sales of new vehicles in March, helped by strong demand for models that get better gas mileage.
Chrysler reported sales of 121,730 cars and light trucks in March, an increase of 31% from a year ago and its highest monthly total in nearly three years.
Ford sales jumped 19.2 percent to 212,777 from the same month a year earlier, pushing the automaker past General Motors to become the top seller in the U.S. auto market in March.
GM sales shot up 26.1 per cent to 24,505 vehicles in March. Volumes for the Chevrolet Cruze compact and Malibu and Buick Regal mid-size cars led the increase, according to company officials.
At least some buyers are factoring fuel costs into their vehicle choices as gasoline prices have risen.
Oil prices have been rising steadily to close at $107.94 Friday as outbursts of violence and revolution in the oil-rich Middle East and North Africa and the devastating earthquake and tsunami that stuck Japan Mar. 11 have caused worries over future supplies.
Toyota Motor Corp.’s U.S. auto sales dropped 5.7% in March due to lower sales of sport utility vehicles and trucks, while results a year ago benefited from higher incentive spending as the company moved to lure buyers in the wake of a massive recall.