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U.S. March auto sales below expectations

Staff Writer |
Major U.S. automakers posted sales figures for March that came in below market expectations.

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Nissan Motor reported a 3.2 percent increase in sales for the month. Nissan trucks, SUVs and crossovers were up 26 percent and had hit record highs, especially its high-selling Rogue crossover.

Car sales in America have risen since end of the Great Recession and hit a record last year of 17.55 million. Investors and analysts have been watching for signs that the current boom cycle has begun to wane.

No. 1 U.S. automaker General Motors reported a 2 percent increase in sales to just over 256,000 vehicles, with sales of its Tahoe and Suburban SUV models seeing their best sales month since 2008.

But sales at Ford Motor fell more than 7 percent to 236,000 vehicles, with fleet sales to rental agencies, businesses and government entities down nearly 17 percent on the year. Sales of Ford's F-Series pickup trucks rose 10 percent on the year.

Toyota Motor reported a 2.1 percent decrease in sales, including a decline of more than 7 percent at its luxury Lexus brand. Fiat Chrysler said its sales were down 5 percent on the year, though sales of its popular Ram pickup were up 6 percent.

Honda Motor reported an overall decline in sales of 0.7 percent versus March 2016, but said truck sales were up 8.4 percent.

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