Strong US economy helps automakers plow through snowy weather and boost sales

Mar 3, 2015 4:05 PM by News Staff

DETROIT (AP) - Freezing temperatures and drifts of snow likely took a small bite out of U.S. auto sales last month, but most automakers are still reporting gains thanks to the strong economy.

Toyota led major automakers with a 13.3 percent gain over last February. Others came in below analysts' predictions. Chrysler, General Motors, Honda and Nissan all saw gains of 6 percent or less.

Ford's U.S. sales were down 1.9 percent, as dealers lacked the inventory to meet demand for the new F-150 pickup truck.

Volkswagen's sales fell 5.2 percent.

Falling unemployment, low interest rates and new versions of big sellers like the Jeep Cherokee - which saw sales jump 19 percent in February - drove buyers to dealerships in many cities.

But bad weather in the mid-South and on the East Coast hurt sales. One Volkswagen dealer in Massachusetts says it had almost no customers for a two-week period at the start of the month.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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