Steel Markets

February Auto Sales Feel the Cold

Written by Sandy Williams

U.S. automotive sales slid during frigid February. Sales were once again led by truck and SUV sales but total sales were less than anticipated. Sales were expected to be eight to nine percent higher than a year ago for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16.6 million to 16.7 million. As results came in on Tuesday, that expectation was revised by WardsAuto down to 16.1 million.

Total sales for 2015 are expected to reach 17 million, surpassing the 2014 total of 16.5 million. February U.S. auto sales totaled 1.25 million units, according to data compiled by WardsAuto.

Fiat Chrysler and General Motors reported year over year increases of 6 percent and 4 percent, respectively. Ford sales were down 2 percent from a year ago but F-Series truck sales jumped 7 percent.

Toyota sales jumped 13.3 percent coming in second place behind General Motors for total sales of 180,467 units. Nissan was up 2.7 percent to 118,436 units for February. Subaru led the Asian manufacturers with a year over year increase of 18.5 percent.

BMW/Mini increased by 18.2 percent while Volkswagen sales dropped 5.1 percent for the month.

In manufacturing news, Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant, the second plant to build the new F-150, is expected to begin production later this month.

Construction began in January at the Volkswagen Chattanooga manufacturing facility in preparation for production of an all new Midsize SUV. The plant, which is the home of the Passat, will be expanded by 512,886 square feet and to result in the hiring of approximately 2000 workers. Production of the newest Passat is scheduled to start in the summer of 2015 and the new Midsize SUV at the end of 2016.

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