Alexandria, VA – The American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA) recently released March 2012 sales figures for the international nameplate automobile industry. AIADA represents America’s approximately 10,000 international nameplate franchises whose brands accounted for 56.3 percent of all vehicles sold in the United States last month.
Rising gas prices, hitting $4 a gallon in some areas, led buyers to purchase small, fuel efficient vehicles in March. Sales in the small car segment, which includes vehicles like Toyota’s Yaris and Audi’s A3, were up nearly 20 percent compared to 2011. Overall sales, including domestic brands and unadjusted for business days, rose 12.7 percent over March 2011 and 22 percent over last month. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for light vehicles was estimated by AutoData Corp. at 14.4 million units, versus 13.1 million units a year ago.
For international brands, Volkswagen led the pack with a sales increase of 35 percent, resulting in its best March since 1973. Nissan’s sales were up 14.8 percent from March 2011, Subaru’s were up 20.3 percent, and Toyota saw sales rise 17.7 percent. Overall, international brand sales were up 12 percent from February 2011. Domestic automakers were up 13.6 percent.
“Consumer confidence is at its highest measured point since February 2011,” said AIADA President Cody Lusk. “Americans are ready to buy, and international nameplate dealers are well-stocked with fuel-efficient, stylish, and safe vehicles to meet every demand.”
In March, international brands accounted for 791,169 units sold, up from 631,152 in February. Asian nameplates occupied 47.6 percent of the U.S. auto market, up from 46.2 in February. European nameplates held steady from last month at an 8.7 percent share. Domestic brands finished the month with a 43.7 percent share of the market, down from 45.1 in February.