New Car Sales for February 2018: Honda Managed to Come Out on Top

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Ford Motor Co. and General Motors’ U.S. sales dropped in February on weaker car and retail deliveries.

GM, which posted a 6.9 percent decline, said fleet sales rose 7 percent, driven by a 15 percent increase in commercial shipments, while retail volume slipped 10 percent “compared to an exceptionally strong February 2017.”

Demand fell 8.8 percent at Chevrolet and 8 percent at Buick, but rose 1.2 percent at GMC and 14 percent at Cadillac.

While light-truck demand remained strong, GM’s car sales totaled 46,914 last month, down 16 percent.

At Ford, volume dropped 6.9 percent, with retail sales off 8.5 percent and fleet down 3.8 percent. Volume dropped 6.1 percent at the Ford division and 23 percent at Lincoln. While pickup demand remained strong, Ford posted weaker car and SUV sales.

FCA US reported a 1 percent decline in U.S. sales last month behind lower fleet deliveries and a 14 percent drop at the Ram brand.

Every FCA brand except Jeep and Alfa Romeo posted a decline for the month. FCA said fleet sales fell 3 percent compared with February 2017. Jeep shipments rose 12 percent — the second consecutive monthly gain after a 16-month string of declines. Demand dropped 3 percent at the Chrysler brand, 8 percent at Dodge and 42 percent at Fiat.

When other automakers report results later today, analysts expect the industry to record a decline for February. Cox Automotive and Edmunds see deliveries dropping about 4 percent compared with February 2017. Incentives dropped slightly from year-earlier levels, J.D. Power says.

Sales last month continued to be driven by healthy light-truck demand, notably crossovers, while car and fleet volumes remained weak. Low financing rates and gasoline prices as well as steady job gains are supporting industry sales, automakers and analysts say.

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