General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM), North America’s largest automaker, announced Tuesday it sold 245,950 cars and light trucks in March, a 6 percent rise from last year as consumers flocked to the company’s redesigned crossovers, such as the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia.

The Detroit auto giant cited a stronger housing market as a driver behind a 32 percent rise in small business purchases.

“GM delivered its best March sales in five years thanks to a strengthening economy and new products, and we are expecting our third consecutive increase in market share versus last year,” said Kurt McNeil, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales.

GM’s estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate, or SAAR, for March was 15.2 million vehicles. The SAAR is a running annualized tally that adjusts for seasonal fluctuations and offers a monthly glimpse into how sales are faring in comparison to annual sales forecasts. GM maintained its estimate of between 15 million and 15.5 million total U.S. vehicle sales for the industry, or between 500,000 and 1 million more vehicles sold this year than last.

All four of the company’s brands saw growth in retail sales and retail-plus-fleet sales. (Fleet sales include purchases by rental agencies and government procurements and are typically excluded when gauging consumer sentiment.) The largest brand, Chevrolet, increased total sales by 0.5 percent to 173,859 units, while retail purchases for the brand rose 0.2 percent. Sales of Cadillac, GM’s smallest brand, rose 49.5 percent to 15,751 units.

Here’s how GM fared in the first quarter of the year:

Total unit sales for the first quarter of 2013: 664,963
Total unit sales for the first quarter of 2012: 608,320
Percentage change: up 9.3 percent.

March 2013 total sales: 245,950
March 2012 total sales: 231,052
Year-over-year increase: 14,898, or 6.5 percent

Silverado C/K pickup truck (39,561), Cruze (23,260) and Equinox (20,997)
Corvette (1,053), Chevy Volt (1,478) and Buick Regal (1,605)

February 2013 total sales: 224,314
February 2012 total sales: 209,306
Year-over-year increase: 15,008, or 7.2 percent

Silverado C/K pickup truck (41,643), Equinox (20,649) and Cruze (17,947)
Buick Regal (1,474), Yukon XL (1,577) and Buick Encore (1,597)

January 2013 total sales: 194,699
January 2012 total sales: 167,962
Year-over-year increase: 26,737 or 15.9 percent

Silverado C/K pickup truck (35,445), Equinox (17,223) and Malibu (15,823)
Buick Regal (1,005), GMC Savana (1,044) and Chevy Volt (1,140)

* “Worst Sellers” does not include model unit sales below 1,000 to exclude most discontinued models, exotic marques and vehicles more likely used for commercial purposes, like cargo vans.