US: automakers to release February figures today image

Although the winter did its crazy thing in February as well, moving through much of the continental US with snow and freezing temperatures, analysts and industry observers expect sales to be flat or growing a little from last year, and much better than in January.

With automakers poised to release February figures later on today, analysts forecast that some, like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Nissan would see increases in their sales, while others, like GM and Ford, will not.

“For the second consecutive month, winter storms and unusually cold weather in many parts of the country are expected to negatively impact sales,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, in a statement. “However, it is likely these purchases have only been delayed and many lost sales will be recorded in March or April.”

“With February incentives hitting a three-year high and inventory levels at their peak since 2009, we expect elevated incentive spending to continue,” Larry Dominique, president of ALG and executive vice president of TrueCar, said in a statement. “March is going to be a ‘must-win’ month for dealers if they hope to have a successful 2014.”

Analysts expect February sales to range from going down 0.2% – according to a forecast from Kelley Blue Book to growing 0.5% – in car shopping website’s TrueCar opinion – or even a better 0.8%, according to The latter also expects sales in February to outgrow January’s lackluster demand by around 19%.