April 4, 2011

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Commerce

Sales of Alabama-made Cars Surge in March

The Birmingham News- April 02, 2011

Cars built in Alabama picked up the slack for the light trucks made in the state in U.S. auto sales during March, as consumers flocked in large numbers to smaller, more fuel-efficient options. Hyundai's two Montgomery models, the Elantra compact and the Sonata sedan, saw their sales surge: 134 percent and 21 percent, respectively, over March 2010.

At the same time, sales stumbled for the light trucks Honda builds in Lincoln. Sales fell 8 percent for the Pilot SUV and 14.5 percent for the Ridgeline pickup, while sales of the Odyssey minivan were essentially flat. But combined sales of Alabama-made models in March still outperformed the year-ago period. Sales totaled 68,564, a 27 percent improvement.  That was largely due to the performance of the Elantra and Sonata, a trend that was seen across automakers' sales reports issued Friday.

"Sales growth for small cars is definitely a trend we saw with most automakers," said Jessica Caldwell, a senior industry analyst for Edmunds.com. Caldwell said that trend will likely continue if gas prices keep rising.  Overall, March was a good month for U.S. auto sales, as consumers emerged from the typical winter slowdown and started kicking tires. Most major automakers reported sales gains.

Total unit sales grew 25 percent from February and 17 percent from a year ago, Caldwell said. She added that world events, such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and continued unrest in the Middle East, likely caused concern for some consumers.

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