U.S. auto sales keep rising, but slowly

U.S. auto sales keep rising, but slowly

U.S. auto sales continued to expand in March after five straight years of gains, but only by a modest half-percent. Thanks no doubt to low gas prices, the monthês sales extended the trend of growth for compact SUVs and crossovers at the expense of passenger cars.

–As the economy gained steam throughout 2014, we knew 2015 would be a strong year for trucks,” said Kurt McNeil, General Motorsê vice president of sales operations.

Ford sales analyst Erich Merkle noted that auto sales had risen 5 percent in the first three months of the year. He said he is pleased with the health of the industry, but that no one should expect the kind of sales gains that occurred right after the recession.

GMês and Fordês sales fell more than 2 percent and 3 percent, respectively, though light trucks continued to sell well for each brand. U.S. sales for Ford rose 2 percent for the companyês 60th straight month of sales gains. Jeep sales jumped 23 percent. Toyota was up 5 percent, staying in second place after GM.

Good news could be seen in the average transaction price $32,201, up 2.1 percent from a year earlier. The average incentive per unit, however, was down $34 to $2,691. (Figures are from TrueCar.)

The top three of the five best-selling vehicles were trucks, the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado and Ram Pickup. Toyotas took the next spots the Camry in fourth place and the Corolla and Matrix, tied for fifth.

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