Harsh winter storms chilled U.S. auto sales in February, with Ford (IW 500/6) especially taking a hit with a surprise 1.79% fall from a year earlier.
Overall, automakers' figures showed more steady growth in the industry, with low gasoline prices continuing to enhance shopping for pickup trucks and especially small and mid-sized sport utility vehicles.
Sales by General Motors (IW 500/5), the U.S. market leader, rose 4.2% from February 2013 to 231,378 cars and trucks. Sales of trucks, SUVs and vans grew 36% from a year ago.
Ford, the second-largest maker, gave no explanation for the sales decline to 180,383 units, which included a 1.2% fall in its key F-series trucks.
But the company said its new aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup truck continued to move strongly through dealers' lots, and said it expected to begin production of the truck at a second plant this month.
Fiat Chrysler's U.S. unit came in with a 5.6% gain to 163,586 autos "in spite of snow and bitter cold that slowed auto sales in many regions of the country," noted Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales.
Jeep brand sales were up 21%, and Ram pickups gained 12%.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015