Scroll down for the blog of February U.S. new-auto sales or click here for the final results.
The world’s “Big 8” automakers are releasing February U.S. monthly sale figures throughout Monday. Forecasts point to about 1.2 million unit sales, up slightly from the year-ago period. The seasonally adjusted annualized rate is expected to be around 15.4 million, up from 15.2 million in January.
The unusually cold and stormy winter weather in much of the country is being blamed for the lackluster performance in new-auto sales since the start of the year. Big 8 inventory levels are high and incentives (what automakers spend on rebates and other enticements) are growing, by 5.1 percent compared to last year, to $2,633 per sale, according to automotive pricing and data provider TrueCar, Inc. That rate is outpacing the average transaction price of $32,074, or 3.6 percent above last year and the highest average sale price for February since 2009.
UPDATE 4:23 p.m. EST – Kia Motors America, Inc.
The Irvine, Calif.-based subsidiary of the South Korean automaker said Monday U.S. vehicle deliveries were down 0.7 percent with deliveries of bestselling Optima four-door sedan dropping to 11,226, a 15 percent retreat.
- The Soul compact, up 10.8 percent to 10,584.
- The Forte compact, up 10.2 percent to 5,513
- The Sportage compact crossover, up 14.3 percent to 2,669
- The Rio subcompact, down 15.1 percent to 2,833.
- The Sorento mid-sized crossover, down 8.9 percent to 7,237.
UPDATE 3:08 p.m. EST – American Honda Motor Co.
The U.S. subsidiary of Japan’s second largest auto manufacturer said Monday U.S. sales in February declined 7 percent to 100,405 units. The company’s luxury Acura division saw a 1.6 percent bounce to 11,545. The company’s ubiquitous CR-V crossover managed to gain a sliver 0.5 percent over the year-ago period, to 20,759 units.
Weather pulled overall sales down for most major automakers, so any gain made in February was a success and any slight decline is probably due to temporary external factors, like the weather.
- The Honda Odyssey minivan gained 4.6 percent to 8,945 units.
- The Acura MDX mid-sized luxury crossover enjoyed a year-over-year bump of its 2014 model that went on sale last summer. Sales were up 54.9 percent to 4,563.
- The Acura RDX compact luxury crossover also helped pull Acura into positive territory with a 4.2 percent increase to 2,911.
- Accord sedan sales fell 12.1 percent to 24,622 units.
- Consumers bought 6,913 Pilot mid-sized crossovers last month, a 28.1 percent drop from the same month last year.
- Ridgeline pickup truck sales fell 12.1 percent on the low volume of 1,143 units.
UPDATE 2:35 p.m. EST – The 'Big 8' Tally
The ‘Big 8’ automakers sold 1,060,342 million passenger cars and light trucks in the U.S. in February, a 0.6 percent increase from the same month last year thanks to double digit sales growth for Chrysler Group LLC and Nissan North America, Inc.
This total is for the top eight of the world’s automakers that carry most sales volume. The final tally, which includes smaller automakers like Subaru and the luxury brands like BMW, will be higher, but it’s clear from looking at Big 8 performance that the final numbers will be at the low end of estimates, if not below expectations.
UPDATE 1.45 p.m. EST – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc.
The U.S. subsidiary of the world’s largest automaker by sales volume announced earlier today its monthly sales figures (see below) in which it reported a 4.3 percent drop in year-over-year February sales volume. Here’s a rundown of the highlights the company released Monday afternoon Eastern Standard Time.
Toyota brand cars, which make up nearly half of all company sales, saw a 12.4 percent retreat to 76,089 units. Toyota SUVs increased sales by 15.5 percent to 38,111 while its truck (the Tacoma and Tundra) sales volume increased a modest 3.5 percent to 18,865.
Lexus cars were up 19.3 percent (to 11,272) and Lexus SUVs declined 3.9 percent to 7,583. Corolla compact sedan sales managed to squeak into positive territory with a 1.2 percent rise to 25,299 deliveries.
- Consumers bought 12,052 Toyota Highlander mid-sized crossover, a 29.5 percent increase from the year-ago period.
- The RAV4 crossover also performed well last month with a 23.4-percent increase to 16,451 units.
- The 8.4-percent increase in deliveries of the Toyota Tundra truck helped lift the division despite a drag from the 13.5 percent drop (to 10,942) in Tacoma truck sales.
- Prius hybrid sales dropped 27.8 percent to 12,861 units.
- Camry sedan sales also fell, by 7.3 percent to 28,998.
- The Sienna minivan lost 20 percent of sales volume comported to last year, to 7,364.
UPDATE 1:21 p.m. EST – Hyundai Motor America
The Fountain Valley, Calif.-based subsidiary of the South Korean auto giant said Monday U.S. vehicle deliveries were down 6 percent to 49,003 units. Like competing automakers, Hyundai pointed to the weather as the culprit.
“I don’t like to make excuses, but the awful weather we saw across the country really hurt traffic to our dealerships and ultimately kept our sales at a pace well below what we were expecting,” Bob Pradzinski, vice president of sales, said in announcing the numbers. “We’re all looking forward to some sunshine in March.”
Deliveries of the bestselling Elantra subcompact held their own, rising a slight 1.1 percent to 16,219. The Electra made up a third of total Hyundai sales last month, up from 31 percent of total sales in February of last year.
- Sales of the Hyundai Accent subcompact jumped 24.7 percent to 5,925 units.
- The Santa Fe crossover saw sales grow 10.3 percent to 6,993.
- Sales of the Sonata mid-sized car retreated 30.1 percent to 11,190 units, representing 23 percent of total company sales in the U.S. last month. In February 2013 Sonata sales represented 31 percent of group sales.
- Deliveries of the Genesis full sized luxury sedan fell 36.2 percent to 1,607 units.
UPDATE 11:27 a.m. EST – General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM)
The world’s second-largest automaker by sales volume said Monday U.S. deliveries in February were down 1 percent, attributing the decline to continued bad weather in many parts of the U.S.
“GM sales started to thaw during the Winter Olympic Games as our brand and marketing messages took hold,” Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of Sales Operations, said in announcing the sales figures. The Olympics took place from Feb. 7 to Feb. 23.
The owner of the Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac brands sees February’s seasonally adjusted annualize rate, or SAAR, ending the month at 15.4 million units. The first two months of the year are typically slow, and this year they seem to be coming in largely down among the Big 8 manufactures compared to the same month last year. The company points out that its February sales are up 30 percent from the previous month, suggesting that as the weather improved sales will be back to positive growth for the rest of the year.
March will be an important month to track to see if this is the case, because if sales were hampered by weather, then as the weather improves consumers should exercise their delayed purchases this month, ahead of the April 15 tax date when many Americans begin receiving their income tax refunds who might use them as down payments on financed purchases.
Buick was the only division to see growth last month, at 18.8 percent to 19,192 units. GMC sales retreated a slight 0.6 percent to 35,562 units. Inventory levels are high, at an 87-day supply, down from the previous month’s 114 day supply. Sixty days is considered the comfort zone, but inventories tend to be higher in the first couple of months of the year.
- All models in the Buick division saw sales increases, with the best-selling Enclave full-sized luxury crossover delivering 1.5 percent growth to 5,319 vehicles. Coming in at No. 2 in unit sales volume was the Verano compact sedan, up 7.2 percent to 4,472.
- The Cadillac SRX was the only gainer in that luxury division. Sales of the luxury mid-sized crossover increased 23.1 percent to 5,058. |
- The Chevrolet Cruze was GM’s best-selling sedan last month, with deliveries jumping 21.7 percent to 21,836 units.
- Deliveries of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup, GM’s best-selling vehicle, declined 12.1 percent to 36,584.
- Yukon and Yukon XL SUV sales fell 24.2 percent (to 1,949) and 29.6 percent (to 1,110) respectively.
- The Cadillac ATS compact luxury sedan saw sales decline 28.2 percent to 2,427 units.
UPDATE 10:49 a.m. EST – Volkswagen Group of America Inc.
The U.S. subsidiary of the German automaker said Monday that U.S. sales fell 13.8 percent with declines in all models except the best-selling Jetta sedan, which saw deliveries increase 1.9 percent to 10,587, and the Beetle convertible which grew 29.2 percent on low volume of 911 units.
“February was an expectedly modest month with the wind down of outgoing models and the fewest number of selling days,” Mark McNabb, chief operating officer for Volkswagen Group of America, said in a statement announcing the results.
- Aside from the Jetta sedan and Beetle convertible, the Passat has been able to slow negative sales growth. The Chattanooga. Tenn.-built full-sized sedan saw sales decline a light 0.5 percent, to 6,997 units.
- Volkswagen’s best-selling SUV, the Tiguan compact crossover, saw sales fall 20.3 percent, to 2,019 units, in February compared to the same month last year.
- Deliveries of the Jetta SportWagen fell 16.5 percent to 1,311 units.
- Volkswagen's hatchbacks (the GTI, the Golf and the Golf R) retreated 45.4 percent to a combined volume of 1,649.
UPDATE: 9:45 a.m. EST – Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F)
Ford said Monday its February sales declined 6.1 percent year-over-year to 183,947 as demand for Ford cars retreated. The F-Series pickup truck, the best-selling passenger vehicle in America, posted its best February in eight years, which in an anemic month like February isn’t saying much. Truck sales were virtually flat at 0.4 percent growth despite a 2.6 percent increase in pickup truck sales.
The luxury Lincoln brand did well, however, with a 35.64 percent hike to 6,661 units. (Luxury auto sales are typically low volume, but that have higher margins and more opportunity for profit from options.)
“Sales surged in the final week, providing us momentum after a slow start to the month,” John Felice, Ford vice president, U.S. sales, said in a statement announcing the results.
Sales might have picked up in at the end of February, but not enough to growl February sales in Ford cars. The only car to grow sales compared to last February was the Ford Mustang at 6.4 percent to 6,410.
- Lincoln MKX crossover and MKZ entry-level luxury sedan. The MKX increased sales by 8.4 percent to 2,041 units while the MKZ jumped 222 percent to 3,044 units. The leap is attributed to production delays in 2012 that didn’t being the MKZ into showrooms until January of last year and stock was constrained until March.
- Demand for Ford Edge mid-sized crossover pushed deliveries up 13.2 percent to 10,965.
- The Ford Transit Connect, a popular work van and taxi, saw sales decline 38 percent to 2,239 units.
- Sales of the Fusion sedan and Focus compact (the first- and second- best-selling Ford cars) retreated by 14.3 percent (to 23,899) and 23.5 percent (to 15,926) respectively.
Ford has grown incentive spending by almost 16 percent year-over-year, according to TrueCar.
UPDATE: 9:21 a.m. EST – Chrysler Group LLC
Note: Chrysler February U.S. sales results are below.
Chrysler Group, which is in the process of merging operations with Fiat SpA into a new entity called FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), said five of its vehicles broke February sales records: Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot, Jeep Wrangler, Chrysler 200 mid-sized sedan and the Dodge Journey crossover. The Ram pickup had the best February in eight years, the company added.
Trucks and SUVs tend to sell better than other segments in the winter months.
“The severe weather has been ideally suited for our legendary Jeep 4x4 capability as Jeep brand sales were up 47 percent and the brand had its best February sales ever,” Reid Bigland, Chrysler Group head of U.S. sales, said in the statement announcing the monthly figures.
The newly designed 2014 Jeep Cherokee that went on sale in the U.S. in November has 22,300 deliveries as of the start of the year, making it the second best-selling Jeep right now.
Chrysler’s transactions prices have increased from the year-ago period according to both TrueCar and Kelley Blue Book, but the company has also exhibited discipline in incentive spending.
Winners and losers for the month:
- Americans bought 12,691 Jeep Grand Cherokees in February. Sales of the best-selling Jeep model increased 34 percent from the same month last year.
- Ram pickup sales grew 26 percent to 29,303.
- Dodge Durango deliveries increased 15 percent to 5,456.
- Lower demand for the Dodge Dart sedan pushed sales down 37 percent to 4,888.
- Charger and Challenger sales fell 13 percent (to 8,940) and 25 percent (to 3,694) respectively.
UPDATE: 9:02 a.m. EST – Chrysler Group LLC
The Auburn Hills, Mich.-based automaker said Monday its U.S. sales grew 11 percent in February, to 154,866 units, on strong demand for Jeep SUVs and Ram pickups.
UPDATE: 8 a.m. EST – Nissan North America, Inc.
Here’s a rundown of Nissan North America’s winners and losers for February sales.
- Altima sedan: up 11.3 percent to 30,849.
- Sentra sedan: up 22.7 percent to 12,339.
- Rogue crossover: up 72.6 percent (the second generation 2014 Rogue went on sale in November) to 17,197.
- Infiniti QX60 mid-sized luxury crossover: up 17.6 percent to 2,704.
- Nissan Versa subcompact: down 21.5 percent to 10,280 units.
- Nissan Pathfinder: down 9.2 percent to 6,367.
- Six Nissan truck and SUV models saw declines in February.
UPDATE 7 a.m. – Nissan North America, Inc.
The Nashville, Tenn.-based subsidiary of Japan’s third-largest automaker was the first to announce February U.S. auto sales figures on Monday. It showed deliveries up 15.8 percent in February, to 115,360 units, compared to the year-ago period.
Rogue sales hit a February record, shooting up 73 percent three months after the 2014 second-generation version of Nissan’s popular compact crossover went on sale. The Nissan brand also set a February sales record of 105,631 deliveries, helped by an 11-percent increase in Altima sedan sales. Sales in the luxury Infiniti division increased 6.4 percent, to 9,729.
“Despite the frigid temperatures and weather-related challenges, Nissan sales continued with good momentum this month setting a February record—our 11th monthly sales record in the last 12 months,” said Fred Diaz, Nissan’s senior vice president for U.S. sales.
Like its competitors, Nissan has been growing incentive spending, by 3.5 percent from February of last year, slightly above the 3.3 percent industry average, according to estimates by TrueCar.
Nissan will release more details of its U.S. February sales performance later in the day.