Chrysler said today its sales increased 4% in February, about the same expectations for the overall industry, as the company extended its streak of year-over-year sales increases to 35 months.
The Auburn Hills automaker had issued a warning a week ago that it might not be able to keep the streak going.
“In spite of a cautious ramp up of some of our most popular products which limited inventory last month, we still managed to record our strongest February sales in five years,” said Reid Bigland, Chrysler’s head of U.S. sales.
Other automakers will report their sales results throughout the day today.
Analysts are predicting that overall industry sales increased somewhere between 2.4% and 5.7% in February, buoyed by an increased demand for pickups and the strength of the U.S. economy.
“All signs of the industry’s health are positive right now,” John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power and Associates said in a recent report. “Average transaction prices are up, incentives are stable, leasing is at a healthy level and newly redesigned models continue to make an impact on the marketplace.”
Chrysler’s results were boosted by the performance of its Dodge brand, which reported a 30% sales gain and sold 7,720 Dart compact cars – the most since it was launched last summer. However, Jeep brand sales fell 16%, Chrysler brand sales fell 7%. Sales for both the Ram and Fiat brands increased 2%.
Chrysler managed to eek out an overall sales gain in February even while sales and shipment volumes for the first quarter of 2013 were held back by the changeover from old models to new models for several key products, including Ram pickups and the Jeep Compass. Also, production of the Jeep Liberty ended last fall to make way for the Jeep Cherokee, which will be launched in May.
Brent Snavely, Detroit Free Press.