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February New Car Sales Better Than Last Year Despite Weather Havoc

February was a month of mixed emotions for the US auto market, with results being unexpectedly good for some manufacturers and not so good for others.  Only 1.26 million units were sold during the month, with analysts citing bad weather as a major contributor.

Because of this, analysts revised the annual unit sales estimate down from 16.7 million down from 16.7 million to 16.2 million. There was, however, a silver lining amid the clouds, namely a 5.3% increase growth in sales over last year.

One trend to emerge was that  large vehicles are the preferred choice when it comes to buying a car these days. This is evident from the fact that SUVs, pick-ups, vans and wagons reported an increase of 36%, with General Motor, Chevrolet and Toyota leading the pack.  Honda, Nissan and Ford did not do too badly either.

February was supposed to be a hot month for new car sales and the fact that sales did not materialize as expected, may be an indication of a slowdown in the months to come.

At the manufacturer level, GM reported a 4.2% increase in sales, while Toyota, Scion and Lexus saw a huge jump of 13.3% in sales, driven largely by demand for their light trucks. Despite the SUV segment’s cheerful numbers, the small segment appeared to have followed at a slower pace.

Toyota was a major winner last month, beating Ford Motor to the number two sales spot, by selling 84 more vehicles. Ford registered a 2% decrease in sales, as demand for its popular F-150 truck fell ahead of a much needed upgrade. Mustang sales were the best since 2007 and Lincoln has failed to impress. So, only vans were a selling point for Ford and that is not much to boast about.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles performance well once again, registered a 5.6% jump from last year, with over 160,000 new vehicles sold in the shortest month of the year.

Honda and Acura sold 105,466 new vehicles in February and here again the SUVs and light trucks stole the limelight. Overall, Honda posted a 4% growth in sales. Even Nissan performed better at a 1.1% increase. Small crossovers were in demand and Rogue was among the bestsellers for Nissan. Volkswagen sales plummeted to 5.2% and even the Golf car that marked record sales did not help the automaker make an impressive score.

Luxury car makers were in for some good news too. BMW Group marked an 18.2% increase in sales and much credit goes to the upgraded Mini Cooper models. Mercedes Benz sold 25,749 vehicles in February, marking 3.1% growth. The newly-launched C-class sales were up to 34% and the CLA sales were up by 32.2% over last year. Even the trucks from Mercedes did well.

Posted by: Farra Majid on Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 at 3:54 pm in INDUSTRY, NEWS