GM Sales Surge 43% for Its Core Brands in March

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General Motors vehicle sales in its four remaining "core" brands surged 43% in March, the company reported Thursday. Each of the divisions reported double-digit sales increases, and the company has now recorded six consecutive months of year-over-year sales gains for its Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC brands.

Including its discontinued brands -- Pontiac, Hummer, Saturn and Saab -- GM said sales rose 20.6% for the month from a year ago.

GM credited brisk demand for its line-up of crossover SUVs and other models for the improved results. Delivering its sales results via Twitter on Thursday, the Detroit-based auto giant said better sales have led to adding shifts at plants in Texas to keep up with demand.

Good Numbers for Core Brands

Sales at GM's Buick division surged 76% driven by strong demand for its redesigned LaCrosse midsized sedan, with sales rising 236%. Buick also reported higher sales of its Enclave SUV.

Chevrolet dealers reported sales of 133,165 vehicles, up 41% higher than during the same period a year ago, GM said. Among top performers was the recently redesigned Chevrolet Equinox compact SUV, sales of which rose 194%, compared to last year. Year-to-date, sales of the Equinox have more than doubled, GM said.

Sales of the recently reintroduced Camaro sports car totaled 8,904 last month, making it the best sales month since the model hit first hit showrooms last spring. Sales of more staid models, such as the Malibu mid-sized sedan and Traverse SUV were also higher, increasing 20% and 33%, respectively, GM said.

Sales at GM's truck division, GMC, rose by 45% for the month, led by higher demand for the GMC Terrain crossover vehicle, while those at luxury-car maker Cadillac climbed 42% on strong demand for the Cadillac SRX sport utility vehicle.

Improved Customer Demand

"Our new vehicles, like the Chevrolet Equinox, Buick LaCrosse, GMC Terrain, and Cadillac SRX, are being well-received by customers for many good reasons, including quality, safety, excellent fuel economy, and higher resale values," said Susan Docherty, vice president of marketing, in a statement.

In order to meet growing customer demand for the Chevy Equinox and another crossover SUV, the GMC Terrain, GM said last week it plans to add additional production capacity at facilities in Canada. Under the plan, a plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, will produce body assemblies, which will then be shipped to a plant in nearby Oshawa plant for paint and final assembly. The Oshawa plant is where the Chevrolet Impala full-size sedan is made.

South Korean auto maker Hyundai also hinted at higher sales in March. Hyundai likely sold about 47,000 to 48,000 vehicles in the U.S. market last month, up as much as 18% from a year earlier, its U.S. CEO said on Wednesday. Hyundai unveiled a revamped Sonata mid-size sedan in the U.S. in February, which helped push U.S. sales to a record last month. Firm sales numbers are due out later Thursday.
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