Euro brands post weak sales for February – USA TODAY

Posted: Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Most upscale European brands’ sales were slowed by the bad weather in much of the country in February, though Porsche stayed hot. Meanwhile, the mainstream Volkswagen brand continues to struggle with an aging lineup.

BMW GROUP. The BMW Group in the U.S. (BMW and Mini combined) reported February sales of 24,476 vehicles, a decrease of 4.4% from the same month a year ago despite strong sales of BMW crossover SUVs.

BMW-brand sales overall were up a modest 3.3%, while sales of Mini models plunged 42.8%.

Best-performing vehicles included the BMW X1 small crossover SUV, up 57.2%, and the BMW X3, up 51.8%.

“The ferocious February winter in much of the country no doubt increased the desire for BMW SAV’s, but in keeping others away from the showrooms it is also building up future demand,” said BMW of North America President and CEO, Ludwig Willisch.

VOLKSWAGEN. VW’s U.S. sales weakness continued in February, sliding 13.8% vs. a year ago to 27,112.

Predictably, the biggest decliner was the aging, last-generation Golf compact, down 56.2% from the month last year.

Potential buyers apparently are well aware that the seventh-generation new and improved Golf has been on sale for some time in the rest of the world. U.S. sale has been awaiting completion of a new plant in Mexico.

Detroit 3 sales: Chrysler zooms, GM and Ford down

Asian automaker sales: Nissan jumps 15.8%

Counting the GTI and R models, Golf’s drop was 45.4%.

The only gainer for VW in the month was its Jetta volume model, up 1.9% to 10,597 sales.

The U.S.-made Passat midsize sedan was down 7.1% to 6,997, but the diesel version continues to be strong, accounting for 24.2% of Passat sales in February.

Overall, diesels were 16.8% of VW sales in the month.

AUDI. VW Group’s upscale Audi brand barely eked out a 38th consecutive month of record sales in the U.S. — beating last February’s record by just 14 vehicles.

Overall sales, thus, were about flat and came in at 10,881, cars and trucks. Big percentage gainers included its flagship Q7 crossover, up 33.6% to 1,229 and its A6 mid-level sedan, up 27.2% to 1,743.

That offset weakness for two volume models. The A4 compact sedan was down 15.9% to 2,216 and the Q5 compact crossover fell 4% to 2,643.

Sales of its expanded diesel lineup totaled 1,048 for all TDI models, up 14.6%.

MERCEDES-BENZ. Mercedes-Benz, including the Smart car brand, Freightliner heavy trucks and Sprinter commercial vans, reported sales of 24,971 in February, up 3.8%.

The redesigned S-class flagship sedan nearly doubled sales from a year earlier to 1,789. And the new CLA entry model, not on sale a year ago, added 1,791 sales to the total.

Smart minicar sales were up 20.2%, to 9 941.

PORSCHE. Sales for the VW Group’s high-end sports car brand rose 15.2% in the month to 3,232, Porsche’s best February ever.

The Cayman SUV continued to be the top seller at 1,260, up about 1%, accounting for 39% of total Porsche sales in the U.S.

But the big gainer was Porsche’s new Boxster/Cayman, up 62.8% to 638.

JAGUAR LAND ROVER. The British automaker, owned by India’s Tata, reported February U.S. sales of 5,558, up 10% from February 2013 and the company’s best February since 2005.

Jaguar’s leader was the XF sedan, up 52%, to 896 sales — a hefty number in the universe of minuscule sales numbers that JLR inhabits.

Jag’s new array of engines and the addition of optional all-wheel drive seems to be boosting sales as the company expected.

At Land Rover, which sells only SUVs, the Range Rover Sport stood out — up 16% to 1,464, a best-ever February for the model.

VOLVO. Sales for the Chinese-owned Swedish brand fell 18% in the month to 3,991 cars.

The company said the percentage drop was deepened by short-term factors that pumped up sales in the month last year.

The S60 sedan was the brand’s top seller.


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