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American car industry has best month since 2007


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.