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Business

April 6, 2014

Auto sales rebound to strongest level since November

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“We are entering the spring selling season on a high note,” Reid Bigland, Chrysler’s head of U.S. sales.

All Detroit automakers are benefiting from rising pickup sales as residential and commercial construction continues to rebound.

Full-size pickups accounted for almost 12 percent of industry sales in March compared with 11 percent a year ago, Ford sales analyst Erich Merkle said. The small crossover and small car segments dropped while mid-size car sales grew to almost 17 percent, up half a percentage point.

Ford sold 70,940 F-Series pickups in March, up 5 percent from a year earlier.

Chrysler’s Ram pickup (42,532) outsold the Chevrolet Silverado (42,247). But GMC sold 16,863 Sierra pickups.

The average incentive for a Ram 1500 in March was $4,769, or 12.5 percent higher than a year earlier. The average incentive for Chevrolet Silverado, meanwhile, was $4,108 in March, or 31 percent lower than last March.

GM began to reduce its incentives last year on its Silverado and Sierra pickups when it introduced redesigned versions of both the Silverado and Sierra pickups. While it may be giving up some sales, the average transaction prices, therefore the profit, of the pickups have increased by several hundred dollars per unit, Caldwell said.

“Ram has a very different strategy and we’re not going to abandon our pricing and incentive discipline to follow them,” said GM spokesman Jim Cain.

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