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

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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