Chrysler shows 13 percent increase in March U.S. auto sales

DETROIT, April 1 Tue Apr 1, 2014 8:13am EDT

DETROIT, April 1 (Reuters) - Chrysler Group, a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, beat expectations by showing a 13 percent rise in March auto sales in its home United States market, the company said on Tuesday.

Ram trucks had their best March sales in 10 years, said Reid Bigland, chief of U.S. sales for Chrysler. Ram truck sales rose 26 percent to 42,532.

Cherokee SUV sales of nearly 14,000 were 10 times year-ago sales of the vehicle it replaced in the automaker's lineup, the Jeep Liberty SUV.

Chrysler was the first major automaker to report U.S. March sales on Tuesday.

Forty analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect an annualized selling rate of 15.8 million vehicles.

Each month, auto sales are an early indicator of U.S. consumer spending. (Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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