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Green, fuel-efficient cars spur March sales

Demand for fuel-efficient cars led to a jump in sales in the U.S. last month, with electric vehicles in particular posting huge numbers in March as a result of the eco-friendly boom.

For the fifth straight month, Chrysler posted a sales jump of over a third, leading its U.S. compatriots considerably — General Motors said sales were up 12 percent and Ford saw a five percent jump.

Among Chrysler’s successes was a monthly sales record for the Fiat brand, which saw the number of cars sold up by a whopping 642 percent compared to last year thanks to an aggressive advertising campaign and new dealers across the US.

Total US sales jumped 13 percent to 1.4 million cars sold, despite high gas prices, which many feared would stop consumers from buying.

Meanwhile, after months of maligning from Republican circles, the Chevrolet Volt staged a spectacular turnaround, more than doubling from the February total of 1,023 to 2,289, easily making March the vehicle’s best month since its launch.

The Nissan Leaf, the first major competitor to the Volt on the market, also saw sales climb from 478 to 579, considerably outselling the total for March 2011.

Toyota shifted 891 Prius Plugin Hybrids in the vehicle’s first full month on the market, approximately three percent of the total number of Priuses sold.

So what’s behind the jump in sales of electric cars? Undoubtedly some of the Chevrolet Volt’s success can be chalked up to the launch of the latest model in California, which qualifies for solo use in the state’s High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane.



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