March wasn’t overly generous to many automakers as sales were mostly flat overall versus last year. Low gas prices might have influenced buyers to opt for crossovers, SUVs and pickup trucks, but even that conventional wisdom didn’t play out across the board in March.
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Of the major automakers Ford, General Motors, Honda and Nissan all saw sales drop in March, but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Toyota were up. While none of the movements in either direction were significant enough for concern or celebration, the performances will all generally be seen as a negative.
In the all-important truck realm, Ford continued to see its top-selling F-Series line falter with sales down 4.6 percent in March. Ram’s 1500 pickup was also down 2.2 percent, while Chevy’s Silverado was up 7 percent. Toyota saw positive gains in March with the soon-to-be-replaced Tacoma up 10 percent, but the Tundra was down 0.7 percent.
Full-size SUV sales also didn’t get a boost from lower fuel prices with GM’s new Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon slipping as did Dodge’s Durango. But Ford’s Explorer saw a significant uptick of 17 percent.
Small SUVs, midsize sedans and compact sedans also saw similar mixes in terms of performance. Incentives likely contributed to some of the positive movements as well as new models going on sale in the first quarter.