Most blame Februarys lackluster sales on the weather

Most blame Februarys lackluster sales on the weather

Everyone wants to blame Februarys less-than-stellar auto sales on the weather. Its true that in the second half of the month, as incentives ramped up and we had a hiatus from the worst of the winter weather, sales started to pick up. Other signs of winters effect: impressive sales gains by Jeep and Subaru, brands with four-wheel-drive that are well equipped to deal with snow and ice and sleet. Jeep sales jumped 47 percent from a year ago and Subaru rose 24 percent to a February record.

Another segment winner was compact crossovers. They retain the advantage of driving capability, maneuverability and cargo space, and now their fuel economy ratings are as good as those of many compact and midsize cars. They made up 18 percent of sales in February.

Sales at GM and Ford fell for the second straight month, with GM down 1 percent and Ford down 6 percent. Toyota dropped 4 percent and Volkswagen was down 14 percent. The snowbound did buy the Toyota RAV4 and Highlander trucks, which each had record highs for February.

Chrysler, Nissan and Porsche all posted double digit gains, with Chrysler up 11 percent and each of the others up 15 percent.

Given some of the challenges that we saw with the month, I would classify this as a good month for the industry and sets us up for a very strong March, Alec Gutierrez, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, told Automotive News. Many analysts will be watching March sales closely to see whether the pent-up demand is released then, or gradually over several months.

The five best selling vehicles in February, according to cars.com: Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, Nissan Altima, Ram Pickup and Toyota Camry. The Honda Civic is off the Top 10 list for the first time since September 2012.

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