US: sales still affected by the tough winter image

As major metropolitan areas in the Midwest, Southeast and along the Atlantic Coast are still affected by the harsh winter conditions, it appears consumers have been chased out of the dealers’ lots to the home’s fireplace.

Still, those who managed to overcome the ice, snow and sub-zero temperatures have turned their eyes on vehicles that are appropriate to the weather conditions – crossovers, SUV’s and generally anything with all wheel drive.

While automakers were mum on predictions for February, as key regions like Atlanta, Dallas, Washington D.C. and Chicago severely hit by the harsh winter conditions, preliminary numbers don’t look positive.

“Although severe weather impacted sales in early February, the negative effect should be somewhat mitigated since the majority of vehicle sales occur in the second half of the month,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power.

J.D. Power said its forecast for the sales is still rather positive, as it expects sales to go up in the final days of the month, with the buzz generated by the President’s Day holiday weekend and its promotions and the customers that were kept from buying going out then.