US auto sales expected to rise 2 percent in March; Chrysler sees double-digit gain

DETROIT (AP) — Automakers are reporting that new car and truck sales in the United States picked up speed halfway through March and had a strong final weekend.

Among the big gainers last month was Chrysler with U.S. sales increasing 13 percent on demand for Ram pickups and the new Jeep Cherokee SUV.

Subaru's sales were up 21 percent as sales of its new Forester SUV jumped 53 percent.

Nissan's sales were up 8 percent. Ford's rose 3 percent. And Toyota says its American dealers had their two best sales weekends of the year at the end of the month and overall sales rose 5 percent.

On the down side, Volkswagen's sales fell 3 percent, while Hyundai's sales dropped 2 percent. Both have older models that are having trouble competing with newer rivals.

Meanwhile, General Motors warns that its sales data will be later than usual because of a computer issue. Its sales could be hurt by a series of safety recalls in March.

%@AP Links

APPHOTO NYBZ112: In this March 27, 2014 picture, a Mercedes-Benz vehicle sits inside a car-carrier before being hauled away for distribution from the company's Vehicle Processing Center in Baltimore. After sales slumped in January and February because of the brutal weather, automakers hope a rebound in March get them back on track to sell more than 16 million cars in the U.S. this year. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (27 Mar 2014)

<<APPHOTO NYBZ112 (03/27/14)££