US auto sales soar past expectations

US auto sales have jumped to the highest level since the end of the "cash-for-clunkers" scheme, figures released March 1 showed.

The number of cars sold in February 2011 jumped by 27 percent compared to the same month in 2010, according to US automakers, the highest seasonally adjusted annual selling rate since August 2009 at the height of the government incentive scheme.

General Motors maintained its position as the US' largest automaker, posting a 46 percent jump in sales to 207,028 vehicles in March, which was helped by significant rises for its sub-brands Cadillac and Buick.

Ford saw a rise of ten percent in sales to 156,232 vehicles and another star of the show was Toyota, which saw a 42 percent rise to 141,846 vehicles sold.

Its Toyota/Scion models both saw a rise of 49 percent in sales, despite ongoing headlines regarding the automaker's safety record and a further huge recall towards the end of February.

Fellow Japanese automaker Honda posted a 22 percent rise in sales, Chrysler was up 13 percent and Nissan's vehicle sales rose 32 percent, as did Hyundai's.

According to Automotive News, the sales surge was fuelled by retail demand, more available credit and demand for fuel-efficient cars and trucks.

America's most popular automakers - February 2011

1. General Motors
2. Ford
3. Toyota
4. Honda
5. Chrysler
6. Nissan

Data from automakers/ Automotive News

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