Chrysler Wins Again, Small Car Battle Brewing and Mustang Beats Camaro

Automakers love Leap Year. And why wouldn't they? Who doesn't love an extra day for selling? Actually, it turns out the extra day that Leap Year provides didn't make that much of a difference, as there were 25 selling days in February of this year versus 24 last year. A variance of one day is not out of the norm for any month. Still, sales were so good last month that you'd think each automaker had an extra week.

Like last month, the best performer was again Chrysler, both the brand and company, which saw sales rise 113.87 and 40.39 percent, respectively. The 300 sedan in particular, which just won our most recent comparison test versus the Hyundai Genesis, saw sales rise 480% to 7,670 units versus the same time last year.

Indeed, nearly every major automaker had positive news to report, except for General Motors and Mitsubishi. While Chevrolet posted a positive 5.78-percent increase in sales and GMC a narrow 0.14-percent rise, GM as a whole was dragged down by Buick and especially Cadillac, which reported drops of -11.29 and -27.04, respectively. In aggregate, GM reported a sales gain of just 1.10 percent, though its daily average sales rate was 2.94 percent below February of last year. In other words, GM sold about 254 vehicles less per day on average in February of this year than last.

If we go one level deeper and look at the sales of some individual models, the most interesting numbers were in the small car segment. Both the Chevrolet Cruze and Toyota Corolla have been leading the segment lately, but February saw the resurgence of both the Ford Focus and Honda Civic. Focus sales were up 115 percent to 23,350 units while Civic sales rose 36 percent to 27,086 units. Both vehicles sold more than the Corolla at 22,148 units and Cruze at 20,427 units. And we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that the Mustang finally posted a better month of sales than the Camaro: 7,351 to 6,923.

BRANDS Vol. % Feb-12 Feb-11 DSR* % Feb-12 Feb-11
Chrysler 113.87 27,008 12,628 105.32 1,080 526
Jaguar 62.48 1,022 629 55.98 41 26
Smart 58.88 769 484 52.53 31 20
Suzuki 47.60 2,425 1,643 41.69 97 68
Volkswagen 42.47 30,577 21,462 36.77 1,223 894
Mini 42.16 4,980 3,503 36.48 199 146
Kia 37.29 45,038 32,806 31.79 1,802 1,367
Mazda 32.31 25,651 19,387 27.02 1,026 808
Jeep 30.37 37,312 28,619 25.16 1,492 1,192
BMW 29.17 21,204 16,416 24.00 848 684
Land Rover 27.40 3,255 2,555 22.30 130 106
Dodge 27.21 42,692 33,561 22.12 1,708 1,398
Bentley 24.75 126 101 19.76 5 4
Lexus 20.73 16,678 13,814 15.90 667 576
Hyundai 17.50 51,151 43,533 12.80 2,046 1,814
Nissan 17.14 97,492 83,226 12.46 3,900 3,468
Subaru 17.02 25,374 21,683 12.34 1,015 903
Mercedes-Benz 16.90 18,910 16,176 12.23 756 674
Lincoln 16.21 6,912 5,948 11.56 276 248
Ram 14.72 23,282 20,294 10.13 931 846
Ford 14.29 172,207 150,678 9.72 6,888 6,278
Honda 13.33 98,899 87,263 8.80 3,956 3,636
Toyota 11.49 142,745 128,032 7.03 5,710 5,335
Audi 10.03 8,531 7,753 5.63 341 323
Volvo 9.76 5,263 4,795 5.37 211 200
Porsche 6.44 2,149 2,019 2.18 86 84
Chevrolet 5.78 151,197 142,929 1.55 6,048 5,955
Acura 4.28 11,258 10,796 0.11 450 450
Infiniti 1.04 9,239 9,144 -3.00 370 381
GMC 0.14 32,581 32,534 -3.86 1,303 1,356
Buick -11.29 14,023 15,807 -14.83 561 659
Cadillac -27.04 11,505 15,768 -29.95 460 657
Mitsubishi -31.29 4,736 6,893 -34.04 189 287
Fiat NA 3,227 0 NA 129 0
COMPANIES
Chrysler Group 40.39 133,521 95,102 34.78 5,341 3,963
Jaguar LR NA 31.72 4,277 3,247 26.45 171 135
BMW Group 31.45 26,184 19,919 26.19 1,047 830
Nissan NA 15.55 106,731 92,370 10.93 4,269 3,849
Ford Mo Co 14.36 179,119 156,626 9.79 7,165 6,526
Toyota Mo Co 12.39 159,423 141,846 7.90 6,377 5,910
American Honda 12.34 110,157 98,059 7.84 4,406 4,086
General Motors 1.10 209,306 207,028 -2.94 8,372 8,626

*Brands and companies are displayed in descending order according to their percentage change in volume sales. There were 25 selling days in February 2012 versus 24 selling days in February 2011, so there will be a difference between monthly sales volume and the average daily sales rate (DSR) for each brand/company. Also, brands are combined and reported as companies only if their sales figures are released jointly.