No Car Wreck: Big Three February Sales Better Than Expected

Ford slipped 13 percent, GM was up 3.4 percent, and DaimlerChrysler dropped 8 percent.

Ford posted better-than-expected sales of 211,150 units in February, but that was still down 13 percent from February 2006. Sales were boosted by mid-size and crossover utilities (CUVs), with Ford Fusion up 46 percent, Mercury Milan up 22 percent and Lincoln MKZ up 21 percent.

Ford’s popular F-series pickup truck sales continued to slide, dropping 12 percent.

For the second quarter of 2007, Ford said it expects to produce 770,000 units - 220,000 cars and 550,000 trucks - down from the 897,000 units produced in the same quarter of 2006.

GM also had better-than-expected sales of 311,763 units, a 3.4 percent increase over February 2006 levels. GM’s sales were helped by its truck unit, with the Chevrolet Silverado sales up 29 percent.

For the second quarter 2007, GM set a production target of 1.175 units - 418,000 cars and 757,000 trucks - a 5 percent decrease from second quarter 2006 production levels. GM said the lower target would help the company manage inventory levels.

At 191,810 units, DaimlerChrysler dropped 8 percent in February from year-ago levels. predicted a drop for the Big Three with Chrysler, Ford and GM falling 9.2 percent, 23.1 percent, and 4.9 percent, respectively, from February 2006 levels.

The Big Three’s rivals, however, were predicted to increase; 5.3 percent for Honda, 1.7 percent for Nissan and 16.6 percent for Toyota from February 2006 levels.

Honda sold 110,026 units, up 3.2 from February 2006, thanks to a 31 percent increase in CR-V sales and a 20 percent jump in Accord sales.

For February 2007, Nissan sold 85,218 units, up 1.2 percent from 2006 levels.

Toyota Motor Sales saw its sales continue to increase, reaching 187,330 units in February 2007, up 12.2 percent from February 2006. Toyota's sales were helped by a 17.5 percent increase in Camry sales and an 87 percent increase in Prius sales. Toyota's light truck sales were up 2.4 percent.

These results come as several groups have expressed an interest in buying Chrysler, and as a survey by Consumer Reports listed its top-10 vehicle picks, all Japanese brands.

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