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February 2015 Auto Sales: All but Two Automakers Post Sales Increases

February 2015 Auto Sales: All but Two Automakers Post Sales Increases

By Jeff Youngs, March 04, 2015

Although February auto sales were slightly lower than many had been expected--likely affected by severe winter weather nationwide--light-vehicle sales rose by 5.3% during the month, compared with February 2014. Several automakers--notably BMW Group, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Jaguar Land Rover, and Toyota Group--posted double-digit U.S. sales increases for February, and most automakers realized single-digit gains. Of the major manufacturers, only the Volkswagen Group and Ford Motor Company saw a slight decline.

Mitsubishi showed the greatest sales gain of any automaker--26%--and while Subaru led among companies with a U.S. market share of more than 1%, its 18.5% gain represented its first failure to realize a 20% sales increase since June 2014.

In a recent interview published by Automotive News, Yong Yang, Ford's chief economist for the Americas, insisted that the underlying fundamentals supporting growth in 2015 are still solid, with low fuel prices likely to continue to spur new-vehicle sales. In the same article, Wells Fargo analyst Richard Kwas suggested that the weather's influence on February sales could lead to strong sales in March.

Highlights: February 2015 Car Sales
Overall U.S. light-vehicle sales in February totaled 1,258,570, slightly below analyst expectations. General Motors recorded the highest monthly sales tally--231,378--and posted a year-over-year gain of 4.2% in February. Toyota Group was second in overall sales, at 180,467, but its year-over-year gain was even more impressive: 13.3%.

Following are additional details regarding February 2015 auto sales for each major automaker:

American Honda--Sales increased 5.0% over the previous February. Acura was up 12.5% for the month, with the new TLX making a significant contribution, while Honda was up 4.1%.

BMW Group--BMW Group gained 18.1% overall, compared with February 2014, its Mini brand leading the way (up 51.3% compared with the same month last year). The BMW brand saw an increase of 14.5%, while Rolls-Royce was up 2.7%.

Daimler AG--Smart brand sales plunged by 51.3%--a total of 458 vehicles compared with 941 last February--and while Mercedes-Benz sales rose by 5.2%, overall gains for the automaker came to 3.1%.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)--Across all of its brands, FCA increased its sales by 5.4%. Maserati, which had enjoyed a year of triple-digit sales increases throughout 2014, declined in February by 42.5%; Dodge and Fiat were also down, although less so. Jeep showed the biggest improvement in sales--21.1%--with Chrysler brand gaining 13.0% and Ram up 11.5%.

Ford Motor Company--Ford posted an overall decline of 2.0% compared with February 2014, with its Lincoln badge down 7.5% and Ford brand down 1.8%. However, the Ford Explorer SUV and the sporty Mustang both reported gains of 32%.

General Motors--General Motors' overall gain for February 2015 was 4.2%, thanks mainly to a 36% jump in sales of its larger vehicles. GMC gained 19%, and Chevrolet sales were up 3.8%. Sales of Cadillac and Buick were down, 12.6% and 9.2%, respectively.

Hyundai Group--Total Hyundai Group sales increased 7.0% in February compared with the same month last year. Gains for the Hyundai and Kia brands were similar, with Hyundai outpacing Kia in total sales, 52,505 to 44,030.

Jaguar Land Rover--A 13.8% rise in overall sales was due to Land Rover's jump of 22.7%. Sales of Jaguar vehicles, however, were down by 9.1% compared with February 2014.

Mazda--Mazda continued its upswing in February, with deliveries rising by 5.4% to a total of 25,650.

Mitsubishi--Although its total sales for February 2015 came to only 7,533 vehicles, that number represented a jump for the badge of 26.0% over February 2014.

Nissan Group--Nissan Group sales increased 2.7% in February. While its luxury badge, Infiniti, gained 19.8% over the previous February, the Nissan brand was up just 1.1%.

Subaru--Subaru sales rose dramatically: 18.5% over the previous February, exceeding 40,000 units for a 12th consecutive month. Most individual Subaru models recorded their best January U.S. sales in history.

Tesla--Sales of the Tesla Model S luxury sport sedan dropped by 9.1% in February.

Toyota Group--Overall Toyota Group sales rose by 13.3%, with Lexus posting the largest increase at 22.0%. The Toyota division was up 13.0%, while Scion sales declined 14.7%. Toyota's trucks strongly outpaced its cars, with the RAV4 posting a sales gain of one-third over the previous February.

Volkswagen Group--Volkswagen Group reported an overall sales decrease of 2.0% in February, compared with the same month last year, with its highest-volume brand, VW, declining by 5.2%. Porsche sales were down 0.9%. On the other hand, its exclusive Bentley and Lamborghini divisions posted gains, and its luxury brand, Audi, was up 5.3%.

Volvo--Volvo showed a minor 0.5% gain in February, selling 21 more vehicles than it did last February.

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