TOKYO - Renault, Peugeot and a couple of General Motors brands posted unusually strong sales in March despite the weak overall market.
GM's Saturn unit, for example, sold a record 179 cars in March, buoyed by a well-received limited-edition model that commemorated the company's first anniversary in Japan.
Saturn opened its 16th retail outlet in Japan on April 4, in Kanazawa, a regional center on the Japan Sea coast. Saturn aims to have 30 outlets in Japan by year end.
Cadillac and Renault also posted record sales for a single month. Cadillac sales rose 26.8 percent to 459; Renault rose 7.1 percent to 357.
Cadillac introduced the right-hand-drive Seville in February and sold 152 in March. Renault's sales were paced by the Megane Scenic.
Peugeot's sales rose 15.1 percent to 967, second only to last December's 975. Peugeot sales have topped 1997 every month this year.
Sales by GM's Saab affiliate jumped 124 percent to 166. Yanase & Co., GM's long-time distributor in Japan, took over Saab sales late last year and began dualing Saab with Cadillac.