DETROIT — General Motors Corp. said Monday that sales of North American-built cars and light trucks rose 1% in March as demand for sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks made up for weaker car sales.
Discounts helped boost Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler sales. Ford said sales of North American-built vehicles jumped by 9.8%, while DaimlerChrysler reported a 4.3% increase.
Cars and light trucks are on track to finish with a 17.9-million annual sales rate, the third-best pace, Burnham Securities Inc. analyst David Healy said.
GM, the world's largest auto maker, said its car sales fell 12%. The company ended some sales discounts for owners of GM vehicles, so-called loyalty coupons, which changed sales patterns, analysts said.
No. 2 Ford said truck sales rose by 5% and auto sales jumped 19%, mostly from newer models such as the Focus subcompact and Lincoln LS sedan.
DaimlerChrysler said car sales by the U.S. operations of the German company rose by 12% in March, partly because of discounts in the face of new competition from Honda and Toyota. Sport-utility sales fell by 7%.
Toyota Motor Corp.'s sales rose by 16% for a record March. The Japanese auto maker got a boost from new or redesigned models.
Honda Motor Co.'s sales rose by 20% for a record month, while Nissan Motor Co.'s sales rose by 23%.
On the New York Stock Exchange, GM rose $2 to close at $84.81, Ford gained $1.06 to close at $47, and DaimlerChrysler jumped $2.75 to close at $68.119.