Major US carmakers posted strong sales figure in March, while demand for troubled Toyota also surged as all manufacturers offered massive incentives designed to lure new buyers back to dealerships in a topsy-turvy market.
General Motors Co. reported on Thursday that vehicle sales increased by 21 percent from March 2009 to 188,546, overtaking rival Ford, which had claimed the top spot in February for the first time in more than a decade.
Ford Motor Co. reported a 40-percent jump in sales upto 183,783, continuing its strong gains as the only one of the major US carmakers to avoid bankruptcy last year. GM remains in majority, controlled by the US government after getting billions of dollars loans in 2009.
Both carmakers offered major deals in the hope of capitalizing on Japanese car maker Toyota Motor Corp's publicity nightmare of the last few months. The world's largest carmaker has been forced to recall more than eight million vehicles worldwide because of unintended acceleration issues as well as brake problems in its Prius hybrids.
Yet, Toyota offered its own round of incentives as it waged an aggressive campaign to avoid a collapse in demand. The deals led the sales to jump upto 41 percent to 186,863, giving it the second-highest total in March 2010.
Total industry sales increased by 24 percent to 1.07 million vehicles, according to research firm Autodata.com. The data signalled a continuing rebound for the world's most lucrative car market, which was driven into a major slump over the past two years by the broader US recession.
Toyota's Japanese rival Honda Motor Co. said "US sales surged 22 percent to 108,262 vehicles."
But Chrysler, the third-largest US carmaker, continued to struggle in its effort to rebound from last year's bankruptcy. Its sales fell by eight per cent to 92,623.