Monday, Mar. 05, 2012, 03:56 AM UPDATED 4:32 AMBy Auto Remarketing Staff
ALEXANDRIA, Va. -
Even with the prospect of rising gas prices looming before dealers, the U.S. auto industry seems to be on the rise, posting a double-digit overall sales increase this past month.
The American International Automobile Dealers Association attributed the 15.7-percent sales increase to “pent-up demand in the auto market, a strengthening economy and new products from automakers.”
Commenting on February’s sales results, AIADA president Cody Lusk said, “New products are converging with pent up demand and an improving economy, resulting in strong sales for international dealers.
“I am confident 2012 will continue to be the best year our industry has seen in quite awhile,” he added.
And international brands saw an even bigger climb, rising by 18 percent.
Which brands contributed to this steep increase?
Volkswagen led the way, with its strongest February for sales since 1973. Sales were up 42.5 percent.
Next, Mazda showed a 32.3-percent sales increase, while Hyundai improved by 17.5 percent.
As for the Japanese nameplates, Subaru was up 17 percent. And both Honda and Toyota both turned in a month of strong sales, up 13.3 percent and 11.5 percent, respectively, AIADA shared.
And in what has been a trend for international brands the past few months, they maintained their hold on a majority of the U.S. auto market in February.
They held onto a 54.9 percent share, which was still down slightly from 55.8 percent in January. International nameplates accounted for 631,152 units sold, up from 509,793 in January.
Breaking it down by region, Asian brands sold 530,686 units and held a 46.1 percent share of the market. This was up up 15.8 percent year-over-year.
European nameplates sold 100,466 units and occupied 8.7 percent of the U.S. auto market, which makrs a 30.8 percent improvement year-over-year.
On the other hand, domestic brands finished the month with a 45.1 percent share of the market and sales of 518,244 units.
So what does this all mean for the year as a whole?
After this past month, the seasonally adjusted annual rate for light vehicles was estimated by AutoData Corp. at 15.1 million units. This marks the highest it has been since February 2008.
The Hottest Vehicles
And as for the vehicles consumers were most leaning towards, the Ford F Series again sat at the top of the list of 10 best selling vehicles this past month, with 47,273 units sold, up from 37,549 sold for the same period of 2012.
And as for the international nameplates, the Toyota Camry continued to lead the way, sitting at the top of this past month’s top-selling vehicles list, with 34,542 units sold. The Camry also sat in the No. 2 spot behind the Ford F series. Moreover, sales of the model were up 26.9 percent over last February.
Next up, the Nissan Altima continued its climb up the chart, moving up one spot from last month into third place, officials shared. Sales for the sedan were up 58.4 percent.
The Chevrolet Silverado PU came in at No. 3, with 32,297 sold, up from 31,728 sold in Feb. 2011. The Honda Civic rounded out the top five with 27,087 units sold, up from 19,121 during the same period last year.
Small Car Segment on the Rise
In perhaps some not so surprising news with the threat of rising gas prices looming on the horizon, the small car segment demonstrated the biggest improvement in February, with sales up 26.5 percent.
The midsize car segment also saw a rise, growing by 25.6 percent.
Interestingly, the luxury car segment was also on the rise, climbing 22.7 percent over February 2011.
But, that said, Americans continued to prefer SUVs and crossovers, as the winter season comes to a close. This segment saw 323,446 sales this past month.
On the other hand, sales for the large car segment decreased dramatically. This segment sold only 1,007 units and was down 85.8 percent since last February.
AIADA also offered the following charts to illustrate February's sales results: