American car manufacturers drew hordes of customers during March, with Chrysler and Ford reporting their strongest monthly sales performance since the US economy began a long period of contraction in 2007.
At Chrysler, sales were up 5 per cent compared to the same period last year. The company, which is a unit of Italy's Fiat, managed to shift nearly 172,000 cars and trucks, making March its best month since December 2007.
Over at Ford, sales were up 6 per cent at more than 236,000, the highest since May 2007. The company's newly revamped Fusion and Escape models drove the gains, with both vehicles posting all-time records for sales.
General Motors also notched up a 6 per cent gain in sales in March. The result, though positive, was lower than some analysts had predicted.
Meanwhile, Japan's Toyota and Nissan both saw gains of 1 per cent in US monthly sales, while Honda recorded a less-than-forecast rise of 7.1 per cent. For Nissan, the month was its best ever, with the company selling more than 137,000 vehicles.
The figures provide fresh evidence of a turnaround in the fortunes of the US car industry.