While U.S. auto sales posted a modest 1.1-percent gain in the first quarter of 2006, the good news wasn't  equally distributed among the automakers.

Volkswagen's strong results (reported earlier) were repeated by Asian automakers Honda, Toyota and Hyundai, all three of which posted record sales in March. Luxury brand BMW managed a 10.7-percent increase in first quarter sales, capped by a 16.8-percent increase in March.

On the domestic front, things weren't so rosy, with GM posting a 5.2-percent decline in sales for the first quarter, and a 14.4-percent drop in March (attributed in part to the company's move away from fleet sales). Ford's results for the first three months were better than GM's, but still 2.8 percent below its sales for the same period last year. DaimlerChrysler bucked the domestic automaker trend again, scoring a 3.9-percent gain in first quarter sales, helped in part by its March zero-percent interest sales incentive program.

The Big Two's results are all the more disappointing when you consider that while U.S. car buyers enjoyed there choice from among $3.8 billion in incentives from various automakers in March, about $2.7 billion of the total came from just two companies - GM and Ford.

[Source: Automotive News]

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