Weather chills US auto sales in February

GMT 22:40 2015 Tuesday ,03 March

Arab Today, arab today Weather chills US auto sales in February

Ford especially taking a hit
New York - AFP

Harsh winter storms chilled US auto sales in February, with Ford especially taking a hit with a surprise 1.9 percent fall while Toyota grabbed the number-two spot after GM.
Overall, automakers' figures showed more steady growth in the industry, with low gasoline prices continuing to enhance shopping for pickup trucks and especially small and mid-sized sport utility vehicles.
Total sales came in at 1.26 million units, up 5.3 percent from February, indicating a pace for the year of 16.2 million units, according to Autodata Corp.
Sales by General Motors, the US market leader, rose 4.2 percent from February 2013 to 231,378 cars and trucks. Sales of trucks, SUVs and vans grew 36 percent from a year ago.
Ford partly blamed the weather and partly a drop in fleet sales for its decline to 180,383 units, which included a 1.2 percent fall in its key F-series trucks.
But the company said its new aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup truck continued to move strongly through dealers' lots, and said it expected to begin production of the truck at a second plant this month.
"We don't know how much was weather, but you got to believe that with some of the ice storms and things that it had to have some impact on the business," Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president for US marketing and sales, told analysts.
Ford's woes, though, worked to the benefit of Toyota, which pulled up into the number-two slot with a 13.3 percent gain to 180,467 cars and trucks, led by surges in sales of its RAV4, Sienna and 4Runner SUVs.
Fiat Chrysler's US unit came in with a 5.6 percent gain to 163,586 autos "in spite of snow and bitter cold that slowed auto sales in many regions of the country," noted Reid Bigland, head of US sales.
Jeep brand sales were up 21 percent, and Ram pickups gained 12 percent.
Among others, Honda sales rose 5.0 percent, Nissan 2.7 percent, Subaru 18.5 percent, BMW 14.5 percent and Mercedes-Benz 5.2 percent.
Volkswagen was another notable loser for the month, its sales falling 5.2 percent from a year ago.


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