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Car Sales, Factory Orders Both Make Gains

In Glendale, Calif., last month, Allen Zimney and Leila Alvarez shopped for a Ford Edge. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images hide caption

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Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

In Glendale, Calif., last month, Allen Zimney and Leila Alvarez shopped for a Ford Edge.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

As the Census Bureau was reporting earlier this morning about a 1.3 percent gain in orders for manufactured goods in February from the month before, automakers were saying that March was perhaps their best month in almost four years, The Associated Press says:

"Chrysler Group said its U.S. sales jumped 34 percent in March on strong sales of Fiat small cars and Chrysler sedans. Ford sales rose 5 percent while General Motors reported a 12 percent increase, led by small and compact cars. Other automakers report later Tuesday."

According to the Detroit Free Press:

"Auto sales are building on their best sales month since 2008. That year, rising gasoline prices and a slipping economy sent the U.S. auto industry sliding toward its worst auto sales in a quarter century. So far this year, consumers are returning to the market, even though the average gallon of regular unleaded gas now costs $3.92, up from $3.76 a month ago."

The newspaper adds that if sales continue at the current pace — about a 14.6 million annual rate — automakers will have their best years since 2007.

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