February National Auto Sales Results

Feb natl salesU.S. light-vehicle sales were flat in February at 1.192 million units with Chrysler Group and Nissan posting double-digit increases. At General Motors, Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Hyundai-Kia, they all cited severe winter weather for a drop in deliveries.

Results were mixed among other automakers as the industry fought to shake off a sluggish December and January. All-wheel-drive specialist Subaru plowed its way to a 24 percent gain last month, while the Volkswagen brand continued to struggle, down 14 percent.

GM, Ford and Toyota all said the pace of sales picked up at the end of February as storms and cold abated, at least temporarily.

Chrysler’s sales rose 11 percent, extending the company’s streak of year-over-year gains to 47 consecutive months. Deliveries rose 47 percent to 45,946 units at Jeep, a February record for the brand, and 28 percent at the Ram brand.

Overall, Chrysler Group’s light truck sales rose 27 percent, offsetting a 15 percent decline in car deliveries. Volume rose 1 percent at the Chrysler brand and 5 percent at Fiat, but slumped 11 percent at Dodge.

GM’s U.S. dealers delivered 222,104 vehicles last month, a drop of 1 percent, with retail and fleet volumes both down 1 percent.

Buick was the only GM brand to post a gain — 19 percent. Volumes fell 3 percent at Chevrolet and Cadillac, and 1 percent at GMC. Sales of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup dropped 12 percent. GM’s closely watched stockpile of cars and light trucks stood at 805,769 units — equal to an 87-day supply — at the end of the month.

Toyota Motor sales fell 4 percent, for the company’s third straight monthly decline.

At Ford, sales slipped 6 percent, with volume off 7 percent at the Ford division. Lincoln’s U.S. deliveries jumped 36 percent to 6,661 units on MKZ demand.

Nissan Motor Co. posted a 16 percent rise in U.S. sales last month, with models such as the redesigned Rogue crossover, Frontier pickup and Altima sedan driving the gains.

Sales at the Nissan division rose 17 percent and Infiniti deliveries advanced 6 percent, the company said in a statement. The Nissan brand has now set a monthly U.S. sales record in 11 of the last 12 months. Overall, Nissan North America’s car sales rose 8 percent and light truck volume surged 31 percent.
Hyundai Motor America said its sales last month totaled 49,003, representing a decline of 6 percent from February 2013.

Jaguar’s U.S. sales rose 35 percent to 1,552 in February — extending the luxury brand’s streak of double-digit, year-over-year gains to 10 months. Its companion brand, Land Rover, reported a 3 percent rise in deliveries.

Audi, which launches the new A3 sedan next month, notched four more sales than last February to preserve a streak of 38 straight months with year-over-year gains.

At Mazda, deliveries dropped 2 percent — the fourth consecutive monthly decline for the company.

TrueCar.com estimates the average incentive per unit will be about $2,633 in February, an increase of 5.1 percent from February 2013 and 3.3 percent higher than January.

GM and Ford last week ramped up discounts on many models, extending deals through March to lure customers back into winter-ravaged showrooms.

Some of the fattest discounts are being offered by Ford and Chevrolet dealers on full-sized pickups — $8,000 and more on the 2014 Ford F-150 and $9,000 and more on the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, according to Internet listings.

Dealers also are sweetening deals on a wider range of cars and light trucks, from low-priced economy cars such as the Chevrolet Sonic to popular crossovers such as the Ford Escape.

Automakers were still able to maintain record transaction prices in February, with the industry average topping $29,000, according to research firm J.D. Power and Associates.

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