Though many news outlets will decry March as a horrible sales month in the auto industry, it wasn't that bad and there are some notable successes. The reason it isn't as bad as some will tell you is because most outlets compare the volume of cars sold last month to the same month in 2007, rather than comparing the average number of cars sold per day. Since there were two extra selling days last year (28 vs. 26), looking at the raw numbers is very misleading. All of our numbers below represent the change in the Daily Sales Rate (DSR) rate, so some brands that actually sold less overall did well by selling more cars per day.

There's no way, however, to sugarcoat the performance of General Motors and Chrysler LLC last month. Both sold about 13% fewer cars per day than last year. Ford Motor Company, meanwhile, was bolstered by a hot-selling Focus and mitigated the damage to just –7.7%. Toyota Motor Co. also got caught in the crossfire, with avg. sales per day down 3.4%. The BMW Group, Honda America and Nissan North America must've known something (or sold something) the rest didn't, as all improved their DSR last month.

We must point out Jaguar, which, thanks to the first month of XF sales, is up for the first time that we can remember. Saab, which has also been consistently flanked by a red arrow, bounced back improving its DSR by 12.4% last month. Volkswagen came out of nowhere with a 21.5% jump, and MINI took the crown of Biggest Winner with a 26.4% rise in its DSR.

Biggest Winner
MINI 26.4% at 4,289 (3/07: 3,655)

Biggest Loser
HUMMER –23.3% at 3,451 (3/07: 4,847)

BRANDS
Acura –15.8% at 13,288 (3/07: 16,986)
Audi 7.2% at 7,987 (3/07: 8,020)
BMW –1.7% at 23,115 (3/07: 25,325)
Buick –18.2% at 12,317 (3/07: 16,222)
Cadillac –0.8% at 17,453 (3/07: 18,943)
Chevrolet –16.9% at 164,564 (3/07: 213,156)
Chrysler –15.8% at 40,539 (3/07: 51,874)
Dodge –15.3% at 85,906 (3/07: 109,226)
Ford –6.7% at 187,828 (3/07: 216,788)
GMC 1.2% at 38,422 (3/07: 40,894)
Honda 6.9% at 125,446 (3/07: 126,406)
HUMMER –23.3% at 3,451 (3/07: 4,847)
Hyundai 9.8% at 42,796 (3/07: 41,984)
Infiniti 7.3% at 13,821 (3/07: 13,877)
Jaguar 13.2% at 1,752 (3/07: 1,667)
Jeep –5.1% at 39,941 (3/07: 45,335)
Kia –2.8% at 24,871 (3/07: 27,567)
Land Rover –10.2% at 3,054 (3/07: 3,663)
Lexus –6.9% at 24,939 (3/07: 28,855)
Lincoln –20.4% at 10,913 (3/07: 14,770)
Mazda –6.0% at 32,929 (3/07: 37,742)
Mercedes 3.7% at 20,808 (3/07: 21,612)
Mercury –11.4% at 14,333 (3/07: 17,426)
MINI 26.4% at 4,289 (3/07: 3,655)
Mitsubishi –7.7% at 10,750 (3/07: 12,536)
Nissan 3.1% at 93,100 (3/07: 97,242)
Pontiac –10.1% at 25,417 (3/07: 30,448)
Porsche –13.8% at 2,624 (3/07: 3,278)
Saab 12.4% at 2,962 (3/07: 2,837)
Saturn –7.5% at 18,146 (3/07: 21,123)
Toyota –2.9% at 192,791 (3/07: 213,820)
Volkswagen 21.5% at 19,587 (3/07: 17,355)
Volvo –6.4% at 9,263 (3/07: 10,661)

YET TO REPORT
Subaru
Suzuki

COMPANIES
BMW Group 1.8% at 27,404 (3/07: 28,980)
Chrysler Group –13.2% at 166,386 (3/07: 206,435)
Ford Motor Co –7.7% at 227,143 (3/07: 264,975)
General Motors –13% at 282,732 (3/07: 349,866)
Honda America 4.2% at 138,734 (3/07: 143,392)
Nissan North America 3.6% at 106,921 (3/07: 111,119)
Toyota Motor Co. –3.4% at 217,730 (3/07: 242,675)

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