US auto sales fall 2.4% during February on lower incentives and higher interest rates

US auto sales fall 2.4% during February on lower incentives and higher interest rates

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Sales of light vehicles in the U.S. market fell during February as carmakers lowered incentives and as interest rates increased. Overall sales fell 2.4% to 1,302,128 vehicles, while the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate was 17.08 million, down 2.3% versus February 2017, but ahead of analysts’ expectations of 16.9 million, according to Autodata.

All three Detroit automakers reported declines in February auto sales compared to the same month a year ago. General Motors Co. sold 220,740 vehicles in the U.S. in February, down 7% year-over-year. Ford Motor Co. reported sales of 193,362 vehicles, a 6.8% decline. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sold 165,903 vehicles, a 1.4% decrease.

Even sales of full-size pickups were down. The Chevrolet Silverado declined 16.3% compared to a year ago, while sales of the GMC Sierra fell 26.6%. The Ram 1500 dropped 14.7%. The Ford F-150 was the only model that posted gains, with sales up 3.5%. 

The decreasing auto sales come as Kelley Blue Book reported Thursday that the average sale price for a new car rose to US$ 35,444 in February, up 2% from February 2017. Additionally, Edmunds reported that the annual percentage rate on new financed vehicles averaged 5.2% in February, up from 4.9% in 2017.

But not all automakers shared the same fate, Toyota sales rose 4.5%, Volkswagen’s increased 8.4% and Mazda saw its sales grew 12.7%.

Contrary to Toyota, its fellow Japanese rivals also saw declines, Honda with 5%, while Nissan was down 4.3%.

Korean sister automakers Hyundai and Kia joined the fall, posting sales declines of 13.1% and 4.7%, respectively.


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