Feb. 03--Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' sales increased 8% in January from a year earlier despite a deep freeze and multiple snowstorms that socked much of the country throughout the month. But Ford blamed the weather for a 7% drop in its sales for the month.
Ford sold 154,644 vehicles in January with F-Series dipping almost 1% to 46,536. Bright spots include the Ford Mustang's almost 8% increase in sales to 3,881. While sales of Ford brand vehicles fell by more than 8%, Lincoln was up almost 43% on the strength of the mid-size MKZ.
"Given the difficult weather in our largest sales regions, we are fortunate to have held in at retail as well as we did," said John Felice, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service, of the 5% drop in retail sales. "In areas where the weather was good, such as in the West, sales were up. The poor weather also had an impact on the timing of some of our fleet deliveries. A bright spot is Lincoln, which had its strongest sales in four years."
The severe weather probably put a chill on industry sales for the month, according to Edmunds.com, which is predicting a 0.6% sales decline for all automakers.
But for Chrysler, it was the 46th monthly consecutive monthly increase of year-over-year sales increases for the Auburn Hills automaker as the new Cherokee and Ram pickups helped the company during the month.
Jeep led the automaker's January performance with a 38% sales increase, followed by Fiat at 29%, Ram at 22% and Chrysler, up 2%. Dodge sales dropped 19%.
All other automakers are expected to report January sales throughout the day today.
January's harsh weather means that sales will likely be made up in February, according to Edmunds.com, which is forecasting that consumers purchased vehicles at an annualized rate of 15.6 million for the month.
But even with a slight decrease in sales compared with last January, overall industry sales continue to be better than they have been for years.
LMC Automotive and J.D. Power have a more optimistic forecast for the month and is projecting an increase of 3% for the month for industry sales.
"We are forecasting January 2014 to have the strongest level of retail sales for a January since 2004, and transaction prices will be the highest on record for the month of January," John Humphrey, senior vice president of automotive at J.D. Power said in a recent report. "In combination, the strong sales rate and record transaction prices are expected to result in record levels of consumer spending for the sector."
Contact Brent Snavely: 313-222-6512 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BrentSnavely
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Original headline: Ford sales fall 7% on bad weather, but Chrysler's rose 8%
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