DETROIT — Car shoppers eagerly snapped up 2015 Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Colorado pickup trucks, along with muscle cars such as the Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang, according to the February auto sales report.
The ongoing love affair with trucks and SUVs was a key theme of the monthly report on Tuesday.
General Motors said sales of trucks, including SUVs, vans and pickups, were up 36 percent year over year. The Colorado and Chevrolet Silverado were strong performers and sales of the Cadillac Escalade were eye-popping. GM said Escalade sales were up 86 percent for the vehicle's best February since 2008.
"Our new SUVs and crossovers, combined with the three-pickup strategy we outlined more than a year ago, are dovetailing perfectly with the growing U.S. economy and a stronger job market," said Kurt McNeil, GM's U.S. vice president of sales operations, in a statement.
Total GM sales were up 4 percent compared to a year ago.
"The auto industry is off to its best start since 2007 as truck demand continues to rise," said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager, in a statement. "Sales of Toyota light trucks and SUVs, led by RAV4, set a new February record."
Honda said sales of its best-selling Honda CR-V compact SUV rose in February, gaining 7.4 percent compared to the same period last year. The Honda Pilot SUV and CR-V pushed Honda light trucks to a total increase of 13 percent for the month.
But shoppers didn't bypass gas sippers, either.
The Honda Fit subcompact hatchback set a monthly record in February, posting an 81 percent increase over a year ago.
Total Honda sales were up 5 percent in February.
FCA US said sales were up 6 percent compared with last February.
Nine FCA US vehicles set records in the month of February, including four of the five Jeep brand vehicles.
The Jeep Patriot turned in its best sales month ever, while the Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler, and Jeep Compass each recorded their best ever sales in the month of February. The Dodge Challenger, Fiat 500L, Chrysler 200, Ram ProMaster, and Ram Cargo Van each recorded their best ever sales in the month of February.
"In spite of snow and bitter cold that slowed auto sales in many regions of the country, FCA US still turned in a 6 percent sales increase and extended our year-over-year sales streak to 59 consecutive months," said Reid Bigland, FCA US head of U.S. sales, in a statement.
"Strong customer demand for the all-new F-150 drove strong February F-Series retail sales results in February," said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, in a statement. "The all-new F-150 continues to be the hottest vehicles on dealer lots, turning more than four times faster than the industry's overall full-size pickup segment."
Nissan Group today announced total U.S. sales for February 2015 of 118,436 units, up 2.7 percent year-over-year and a February record.
Hyundai said in a tweet that the Hyundai Genesis, Sonata and Santa Fe had a "strong month" in February. The Korean automaker reported "best February sales ever at 52,505, up 7.1 percent year-over-year."
Edmunds says: Gas prices inched back up in February and are expected to keep rising in March, but that doesn't appear to have much impact on shoppers' choices.