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April 3, 2013 10:35 AM, EDT

U.S. Auto Sales Jump in March

U.S. automakers reported their strongest March sales in five years, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

General Motors Co.’s sales rose 6.4% from a year earlier, Ford Motor Co.’s rose 5.7% and Chrysler Group LLC’s rose 5%, the Journal said.

GM sold 245,950 vehicles in March, up from 231,052 a year earlier and 9.6% above February. Ford sold 235,643 cars and light trucks, up 5.7% from a year earlier, the Journal said.

Overall, adjusted annualized sales jumped 8% to a 15.3 million vehicle pace, compared with 14.1 million a year ago, according to Autodata Corp.

The gains prompted automotive information website Edmunds.com to lift its 2013 U.S. sales forecast to 15.5 million new cars and light trucks, from a previous 15 million, the Journal said.

Japanese auto makers Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. each reported 1% gains, while Honda Motor Co.’s U.S. sales volume rose a less-than-expected 7.1%, the newspaper said.

Germany’s Volkswagen reported a 3.1% rise in March sales, while its Audi unit increased 14%. Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz unit’s U.S. sales rose 6.5% and BMW AG’s sales gained 13%.

Affiliated South Korea-based Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. each reported lower March sales, with Hyundai’s slipping 2% and Kia’s down 14.6% from a year ago, USA Today reported.