US auto sales rose at an annualized rate of 17.58 million in February, according to Autodata.
Analysts had estimated that total vehicle sales rose at a rate of 17.7 million, according to Bloomberg.
Sales also fell in January, following another record year for automakers. But that did not immediately signal an end to the industry's boom, Business Insider's Matthew DeBord reported.
Costlier pickups and SUVs are being sold more than passenger cars, meaning that the manufacturers can maintain their profits. Also, carmakers are getting more cautious about so-called fleet sales to rental agencies, governments, and other large organizations. Such sales are less profitable than consumer purchases.
Carmakers continue to benefit from the accessibility of credit provided by low interest rates, although there are some concerns that the level of consumer debt is stretched.
In the fourth quarter, auto loan originations — appearances of new auto balances on consumer credit reports — increased by a record $142 billion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Delinquency rates on auto loans also increased, with 3.8% of payments made more than 90 days late, classified as "seriously delinquent" by the New York Fed.
Here's the scoreboard:
- Nissan: 3.7% (-1.8% expected)
- Ford: -4% (-4.3% expected)
- GM: 4.2% (2.5% expected)
- Fiat Chrysler: -10% (-8.4% expected)
- Honda: 2.3% (2.4% expected)
- Toyota: -7.2% (-4.8% expected)
- Subaru of America: 8.3%
- BMW: -2.5%
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