car dealership snowmanMike
Cassese/Reuters

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%