US auto sales decline 2.9% in February due in part to severe weather
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Auto sales in the U.S. market declined in February primarily due to severe weather that kept consumers away from dealerships in the Northeast region. According to AutoNews, global automakers sold 1,268,571 cars and light trucks last month, a 2.9% decline compared to 1,306,210 units from the same month of 2018.
Total sales in the first two months of 2019 were an estimated 2,401,843 vehicles, 2.6% less than the 2,465,328 units sold over the same period from last year. The seasonally adjusted, annualized sales rate (SAARS) was 16.61 million marking the second straight month below 17 million.
“With January’s government shutdown and record-breaking sub-zero temperatures in the rearview mirror, we expected a general upward lift in February. However, given that this doesn’t appear to be happening, the results today suggest a much bigger story: The sales pace has finally shifted into a lower gear,” said in a note Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist for Cox Automotive.
The United States represents the main destination for Mexico auto exports. In January, auto plants in Mexico exported 191,072 vehicles to the U.S., representing 78.8% of total.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the only automaker out of the Big Detroit 3 that still posts results in a monthly basis, said its sales were 162,036 vehicles last month, representing a 2.3% decline. General Motors dropped an estimated 5.3%, according to the Automotive News Data Center. The same source suggests Ford deliveries fell 4.4%.
Among Japanese automakers Nissan saw the sharpest decline, of 12% on sales of 114,352 units. Mazda sold 23,852 vehicles, representing a decrease of 7.3%. Toyota sales fell 5.2% to 172,748 units while Honda's deliveries dropped just 0.4% to 115,139 cars and light trucks.
Meanwhile, Subaru and Mitsubishi were the only car companies from Japan on the rise, on gains of 3.9% and 6.1% respectively.
Volkswagen posted a 3.6% decline on sales of 25,706 vehicles while Hyundai and its sister brand Kia saw gains of 2.3% and 6.7% respectively.
In the luxury car market, BMW posted a 1.3% decline on sales of 26,329 vehicles including its Mini and Rolls-Royce brands. Sales of the BMW brand increased 0.2% but the overall result was affected by a 12.6% drop in its Mini division.
Mercedes Benz posted a 12.4% drop on deliveries of 24,447 vehicles including the Smart brand, while Audi sales declined 12.2% to 13,560 units.
Jaguar Land Rover was the best performing automaker in the luxury niche during February with 11,616 vehicles sold for a 28.9% hike.