Higher fuel prices are helping drive car sales in the United States.
The US has seen the fastest three-month sales pace in four years at the start of 2012. Sales rose more than 15 percent in March.
Auto executives and analysts said March sales of cars and trucks were lifted by the same factors that have driven the
recovery since the middle of 2011. Those include the need for consumers to replace aging vehicles as prices rise at the pumps. There is also improved consumer confidence in the wake of a stabilising job market.
Toyota’s Prius hybrid models are benefiting particularly with the company selling more than 25,000 hybrids in the US in March, which was a record.
General Motors, the top US automaker, posted a 12 percent gain in March sales, which failed to keep pace with the overall market.
Chrysler’s sales were up 34 percent from a year earlier, Ford’s sales rose five percent, Volkswagen’s soared 35 percent.