Auto Sales on the Rise

Auto sales were on the upswing in March, thanks to a thirst for fuel-efficient vehicles and the unseasonably warm weather. Automakers sold 1.4 million light vehicles last month, with hybrids and more efficient models leading the way. General Motors sold over 100,000 models that get 30+ miles to the gallon—accounting for almost half of the 231,052 cars sold in March. U.S. sales on Toyota Prius hybrids jumped 54 percent last month to 28,711 cars—a record for the company. Chrysler had the best month of sales it has had in four years—a 34 percent jump from this time last year. If auto sales stay on the same path, the auto industry could end up selling 14.4 million vehicles, a 1.6 million jump from last year. "The wild card going forward seems to be the price of oil, but it hasn't seemed to slow vehicle sales yet," said Thomas Klier, a Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago economist. "It could be reflective of a more positive sentiment in the economy."

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