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Car Sales for GM, Ford Top Estimate as Winter Thaw Brings Buyers

General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC topped analysts’ estimates for March car sales as an end to two months of blizzards brought buyers back to showrooms.

U.S. auto sales rose 5.7 percent to 1.54 million cars and light trucks, according to researcher Autodata Corp. The annual sales rate, adjusted for seasonal factors, rose to 16.4 million from 15.3 million a year ago. That beat analysts’ projections for a 15.8 million pace on 1.48 million light vehicles sold.