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Key Takeaways From February's US Auto Sales

All the US automakers reported February sales decline

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Mar 05, 2018
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The U.S. auto sales in February dropped 2% year over year to 1.3 million vehicles. The major U.S. automakers -- General Motors (

GM, Financial), Ford (F, Financial) and Chrysler (FCAU, Financial) -- reported sales decline during the month. However, Toyota (TM, Financial), Subaru and Volkswagen (VOW3, Financial) managed to eke out sales gain in February. Be it cars, trucks or pickups, demand for each one of them plunged as the automakers slashed discounts and also the fact that the interest rates had gone up.

Performance of US automakers

The top U.S. automaker General Motors sold 220,740 vehicles in February, down 7% from the same period last year. The company’s top-selling vehicle, Chevrolet Silverado, witnessed a 16% sales drop from February 2017. While sales plunged at GMC (down 8% year-over-year) and Chevy (down 8.8%) in February, Buick and Cadillac sales soared during the month. In fact, the company’s incentive spending, when taken as a percentage of average transaction prices (ATPs) came down to 13.2%.

Ford Motor Co., too, experienced sales decline in February, down 6.6% year-over-year to 194,132 units. The company attributed the decline to car and SUV sales being down. By contrast, the Blue Oval’s biggest seller, F-Series pickup eked out 3.5% sales gain. Fleet sales decreased 3.8% to 71,059 vehicles. On a positive note, Lincoln Navigator and Expedition saw a mammoth sales gain. As a matter of fact, demand for Navigator and Expedition surpassed demand. To increase production, workers are running the Kentucky Truck Plant extra shifts. The company’s transaction prices increased to $36,200 when compared with the industry average of $32,200.

Chrysler’s sales plunged 1% year-over-year. While sales of Jeep brand and Alfa Romeo surged 12% and 254%, respectively, sales of most of its other brands, such as Dodge, Chrysler, Ram and Fiat, dipped 8%, 3%, 14% and 42%, respectively.

Performance of other automakers

The world’s largest automaker, Toyota, reported a 4.2% sales gain in February. The sales gain was attributable to impressive performance of its best-seller Camry sedan whose sales surged 12% on a year-over-year basis. Lexus sales grew 5%. As a matter of fact, the combined sales of crossovers, SUVs and pickups spiked 10.5% in February.

Nissan Motor Co. (

NSANY, Financial) said that its sales dropped 4% in February to 129,930 vehicles. The automaker’s car sales plummeted 17% while that of trucks and SUVs remained strong, up 9%. Nissan’s luxury Infinite brand experienced a sales decline of 7%.

Honda Motor Co. (

HMC, Financial) witnessed reported sales decline of 5% to 115,557 vehicles. Sales of passenger cars plunged 6.9% amidst sales decline of Accord (down 15.8%) and Civic decreased 4.5%. Honda brand was down 5.6%. In contrast, the luxury Acura lineup witnessed a meager 1% sales rise.

Disclosure: I do not hold any position in the stocks mentioned in this article.

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