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Lexus NX selling at fast pace
<p><strong>Lexus NX selling at fast pace.</strong></p>

Toyota Posts 9.1% March Gain

Both Toyota and Lexus gains were driven by strong CUV sales, including those of the RAV4, up 33.0%, and Lexus NX, which added 3,633 units to the brand&rsquo;s March total.

Toyota sales rose 9.1% on daily-selling-rate basis in March, with the automaker, as it had in January and February, crediting strong light truck sales for the gain.

“Strong March sales capped the auto industry’s best first quarter in 13 years,” Bill Fay, group vice president-Toyota Div., says in a statement. "Our pickups, (utility vehicles) and the Sienna minivan all posted good gains in March and contributed to a record light-truck first quarter.”

Lexus also saw good light-truck sales, and the two brands in total sold 273,703 in the year’s first three months, WardsAuto data shows.

Toyota brand sales rose 9.5% from March 2014, with the RAV4 midsize CUV posting the biggest gain, up 33.0%. Sales of the 4Runner SUV jumped 27.4% in March vs. year-ago.

The Tacoma compact pickup increased 21.2% while the larger Tundra grew sales on a DSR basis by 14.4%.

While light trucks were the major story for Toyota in March, cars performed well, too.

The subcompact Yaris, surprisingly, had the biggest jump among any Toyota nameplate, up 45.1%. The Corolla (up 24.5%) and Camry (up 1.1%) sedans also were in positive territory.

However, not all cars did well, as the Avalon large sedan fell 17.4% and the Prius hybrid continued to slide, with the liftback and V wagon models down 12.9% combined.

The Lexus brand’s 31,054 units broke the previous March record set in 2007 and were up 13.0% on a DSR basis from year-ago.

The new NX compact CUV continues to sizzle, with 3,633 sales last month, making it Lexus’ No.4 best-seller after the larger RX CUV, ES sedan and IS sedan.

“We’re having a hard time keeping up with the demand for luxury utility vehicles,” says Jeff Bracken, Lexus group vice president.

Cars didn’t fare as well as utility vehicles for the luxury marque, as the ES and IS saw declines of 11.5% and 4.6%, respectively.

The new RC coupe added 1,201 units to Lexus’ March tally.

The bleeding continued at the Scion brand, which posted a 22.2% falloff last month as all models save for the xB, up 6.8%, slipped into the red.

The tC coupe was the brand’s best-seller, with 1,777 units delivered, down 0.6%.

Toyota U.S. sales through March were up 10.5% on a volume basis from the same period year-ago, to 575,620 units.

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