Ford's February Sales Fall 6% With GM Down 1% and Jeep Up 47%
GM said sales fell 1% to 222,104 units, with retail sales down 1%. Ford sales fell 6% to 183,947, with retail sales down 4%. Chrysler sales rose 11% to 154,866 units. Nissan sales rose 15.8% to 115,360 units.
With GM sales down less than anticipated, GM shares were up 7 cents to 36.26 shortly after the opening bell. Ford shares were down 21 cents to $15.18.
The snow benefited Jeep, which recorded its best February ever as sales rose 47% to 45,946 units. "The severe weather has been ideally suited for our legendary Jeep 4x4 capability," said Reid Bigland, Chrysler's head of U.S. sales.
At GM, "weather continued to impact the industry in February, but GM sales started to thaw during the winter Olympic Games as our brand and marketing messages took hold," said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations, in a prepared statement. "Car and crossover sales were particularly strong at Buick and Chevrolet, and we continue to have a strong mix of pickup sales.
"Despite a slower start to 2014 than most people expected, we look forward to a very successful year, backed by plenty of new products and what should be the strongest GDP growth since the end of the recession," McNeil said.
GM said its incentive spending increased slightly from January "due primarily to the sell-down of older model heavy-duty pickups and large SUVs," but the increase was less than the industry average. It said the average transaction price for light duty pickups held steady while segment share increased from January.
GM reported 1% sales declines in both retail and fleet. On the bright side, GM noted that February sales outpaced January sales by 30%, more than 10 points better than the industry as a whole.
Silverado sales fell 12% to 36,584 and Impala sales fell 22% to 12,008. However, Cruze sales rose 21% to 21,836, Equinox sales rose 4.5% to 21,587 and Malibu sales rose 18% to 17,448. Buick gained 19% to 19,192. But overall Chevrolet sales lost 3% to 153,913. Cadillac sales fell 3% to 13,437 and GMC sales fell 0.6% to 35,562.
Ford said F-Series posted its best February sales in eight years, with sales up 2.6% to 55,882. Lincoln sales gained 36% to 6,661. Fleet sales fell 10% as winter weather again delayed a portion of fleet orders. Ford car sales fell 16.8% to 57,236, with Fusion down 14.3% to 23,898 and Focus down 23.5% to 15,926.
"Sales surged in the final week, providing us momentum after a slow start to the month," said John Felice, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service. "Ford Fusion continued its strong retail sales performance in the West, outpacing the mid-size sedan segment."