Though monthly auto sales reports tend to be dull affairs, early 2014 stats have delivered surprises worthy of newspaper headlines. First it was Nissan bumping aside the Toyota Camry with midsize Altima sales through February. When news from March emerged, both Ram pickups and another Nissan vehicle had shown spectcular gains on the month.
GM did not take the affront to its Chevy pickup lightly, according to reports. Heavy incentives from Chevy dealers are expected to challenge Ram’s grip on second place in the coming months.
Nonetheless, all three Detroit automakers had reason to celebrate U.S. consumer tastes in March. Here are seven breakout automobiles that are surging into spring 2014.
1. Chevy Sonic
Of the countless vehicles on sale from Buick, Cadillac, GMC, and Chevrolet dealers, few keep as low a profile as the subcompact Chevy Sonic. The 2014 Sonic comes in either hatchback and sedan with a base MSRP of $14,170. U.S. consumers jumped on these mini rides in March, snatching up 10,060 units from dealerships.
Though it only landed at No. 48 on the overall U.S. sales list for March, the Chevy Sonic posted two key milestones. First, it notched gains of 46 percent over the previous year’s stats. Second, it beat the popular Mazda3 in head-to-head sales by nearly 200 units. Sonic sales are up 21 percent on the year.
2. Nissan Rogue
Of all the cars landing in the top twenty of U.S. sales, none has posted bigger gains in 2014 than the Nissan Rogue. Its top-performing 26.3 percent gain in March was outshone only by its 47 percent gain through the first three months of the year.
Nissan sold 19,420 units of the Rogue in March. The crossover capable of 33 highway mpg starts with a base MSRP of $22,490 before destination charge. It currently sits at No. 17 on the list of all automobiles sold in the U.S. in 2014.
March 2014 very much belonged to The Chrysler Group and its network of U.S. dealerships. Brisk sales of the Dodge Grand Caravan and (up 28 percent) and Grand Cherokee (up 26 percent) were topped only by the mammoth month Ram pickups had. The former Dodge unit posted 42,532 sales of Ram pickups, which represented a gain of 25.7 percent over March 2013.
More importantly, the surging March sales made Ram the second-best selling vehicle in the United States for the month. It was the first time since 1999 Dodge or Ram outsold Chevy Silverado pickups. That was headline-worthy, indeed.
4. Subaru Forester
Among the top thirty automobiles on the U.S. sales list, none gained as much as the Subaru Forester in March or on the year in 2014. A total of 13,846 models of the compact SUV left dealer lots in March, which represented a 53 percent gain over the previous year’s sales figures.
The Subaru Forester is having an even better 2014 overall. Through the first three months of the year, the Forester has gained 67 percent. It’s a bona fide breakout vehicle this spring.
5. Mazda CX-5
Though the Mazda CX-5 sits at No. 42 on the U.S. sales list, the compact SUV is showing tremendous gains in 2014. During March, U.S. consumers picked up 11,855 models of the CX-5, which amounted to a gain of 67 percent.
At the close of March, the CX-5 had posted year-over-year gains of 47 percent, slotting it ahead of the Toyota Sienna, Volkswagen Passat, anmd Dodge Charger, among other vehicles.
6. Nissan Sentra
Sporting a base price under $16,000 and highway performance of 39 mpg, the Nissan Sentra’s attributes speak for themselves. U.S. consumers drove home 19,323 models of the compact Sentra in March, which represented a 38 percent leap over the prior year’s figures.
The Sentra’s exceptional month has been nearly matched by its year-long performance in 2014. Through March, it has gained 24 percent, placing it just behind the Jeep Grand Cherokee for No. 22 on the U.S. sales list.
7. Ford Fusion
Compared to some of the enormous gains of automobiles on this list, the the 9 percent improvement the Ford Fusion notched in March could seem pedestrian. However, the midsize sedan posted huge volumes for the month to place seventh on the U.S. auto sales list and solidify the car’s grip on eighth place overall.
For an automobile that didn’t crack the top ten in U.S. sales for 2013, the achievement after the first quarter of 2014 is remarkable. Ford sold nearly 33,000 models of the Fusion in March.