Chrysler Group Sales Save the Day for the Big Three

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In the first quarter of 2012, Chrysler increased sales by 111,101 cars and gained a 2.1 percent market share.

Who would have thought that just a few years ago Chrysler would be the relevant factor in maintaining the sales numbers of the Detroit automakers? That was exactly the case in the first quarter of 2012 as the market share of the big three Detroit automakers shrunk by 0.4 percent compared to the first quarter of 2011. It could have been much worse for the 'Big Three' but the stellar performance of Chrysler, whose sales rose by 38.7 percent, came to their rescue.

However, last month Chrysler's sales pace decreased to 'just' 34.7 percent over March 2011 with sales of 163,381 passenger cars and light trucks. As expected March was the strongest sales period of the first quarter with 1,401,774 vehicles sold. It is an increase of 12.7 percent over last year, though the annual pace growth has slowed down to 14.5 million vehicles compared to 15.1 million the previous month. Chrysler sales jumped last month by 70 percent to 34,726 cars, led by the 200 and 300 models. Jeep sales grew by 36 percent for March with Liberty sales growing by 46 percent.

The sales of both the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee grew by 43 percent. Overall Chrysler Group sales market share grew for the quarter by 2.1 percent to 11.5 percent. General Motors saw a sales growth of 12 percent, as sales of two brands increased and two others decreased. Chevrolet Sales reached to 173,073 for March, an increase of 16.8 percent. Malibu sales grew by 53.6 percent, Colorado by 42.6 percent and, surprisingly, the Corvette grew by 18.3 percent to a total of 1,376 units. Ford posted its best March in five years, selling 223,418 vehicles, an increase of 5 percent over the previous March.

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For the first quarter Ford sales grew by 8.6 percent to 539,427 vehicles, though its market share declined by 0.7 percent to 15.5 percent. The all-new Ford Focus increased sales by 64.7 percent to 28,293 cars. Volkswagen Group continued solid growth as sales jumped by 30.3 percent for March and 34.1 percent for the quarter. The new Passat sold over 10,000 units, up from only 38 in March 2011 and the Beetle Coupe sold almost 2,000 units up from 37 the previous March. Audi sales continued to grow and gain market share with an 18 percent increase in sales for March and 16.1 percent for the quarter. A6 sales grew by 104 percent.

Mercedes-Benz sales grew by 11.1 percent and those of its fierce competitor, BMW grew by 13 percent - before the arrival of the new 3-Series. Sales of the Mercedes CLS sales grew by 243 percent and the M-Class was up 45.8 percent. For BMW the 6-Series sales grew with 759 units sold and the X5's sales grew by 41.3 percent. The South Korean automakers continued to rise with Hyundai sales up 12.7 percent and 14.7 percent for the quarter. Sister company Kia's sales jumped by 30.2 percent to 57,505 vehicles while sales for the quarter grew by 31.8 percent to 138,060 vehicles.


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