Subaru, Corvette are February sales winners; Ford, Mini the losers

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Automakers sold 1.2 million vehicles last month, about the same as February 2013. Frigid weather in much of the nation put a damper on the business. With most of the car companies having now reported their results Monday, here are the winners and losers.

Subaru is hot: The Japanese automaker may be the fastest growing major car brand in the United States. February sales rose 24% to 34,909 vehicles when overall auto sales were flat. Forester sales nearly doubled and now account for about a third of Subaru’s business. The brand is gaining share from the other car companies. About 60% of Subaru buyers are new to the nameplate.

Ford hybrids stall: The new C-Max hybrid was one of February’s biggest losers. Sales fell 42% to just 1,853 cars and are now down 45% of the year. Other big losers at Ford were the Taurus and Focus passenger cars, with sales plunging 28.9% and 23.5% respectively.
Lincoln gains traction: Sales of the MKZ from Ford’s struggling Lincoln brand rose 222% to 3,044 vehicles. Could this be the first sign of a Lincoln turnaround?


Watch Buick: Although General Motors’ sales dipped 1% last month, Buick grew. Led by nearly a doubling in sales of its small Encore SUV, the brand’s sales rose nearly 19% in February.
Corvette smoking: Sales of the recently redesigned Chevrolet Corvette rose almost 150% to 2,438.

Cherokee sales grand: Chrysler sold nearly 12,000 of its new Jeep Cherokee SUV last month. The model accounted for almost all of the automaker’s February sales gain. Its bigger sibling, Jeep Grand Cherokee, also had a good month, with sales up 34% to nearly 13,000. Overall, Jeep sales rose 47% and have become the driver of Chrysler’s growth.
Nissan going Rogue: Sales of the redesigned Rogue compact SUV jumped 73% to more than 17,000, making the vehicle Nissan’s second-best seller after the Altima sedan. The Juke, another small Nissan crossover, also had a great month with its sales rising 84% to almost 5,200.

Mini sales are mini: Mini sales plunged 43% to just 2,459 cars. It is going to be a rough few months for Mini as it waits for the redesigned version of its flagship Mini hardtop, scheduled to arrive in the spring.

February auto sales overall: Automakers estimated they sold about 1.2 million vehicles in the United States last month, about a 1% gain.
GM said its U.S. sales fell 1% to 222,104 vehicles last month, compared with February a year earlier.

Ford sales fell 6% to 183,947 vehicles in February.
Chrysler sales rose 11% to 154,866 vehicles, the company’s best February sales since 2007.

Toyota Motor Corp. sales fell 4% to 159,284 vehicles, compared to the same month a year earlier.
Honda sales fell 7% to 100,405 vehicles.

Nissan’s sales also rose, up nearly 16% to 115,360 vehicles.
Sales of the Volkswagen brand fell 13.8% to 27,112 vehicles.


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