Cars.com Managing Editor On February Auto Sales
Cars.com Managing Editor and Auto Expert Dave Thomas told Benzinga that rather than focusing on analyst estimates, it was better to look at "how few negative numbers there were" in the February auto sales reports.
Thomas noted that weather was bad in February 2014 as well, but that people rarely want to bring home a new car in the midst of a snowstorm.
According to Thomas, the inclement weather did drive higher sales for trucks and SUVs.
Looking ahead at 2015, Thomas thought it would be "a very steady year" especially with new models, such as the Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) F-150, in the production pipeline.
A new trend Thomas saw was the shift from sedans to compact SUVs such as the Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE: HMC) CRV and the Toyota Motor Corp (ADR) (NYSE: TM) RAV4 which have become "the mainstream car" rather than mid-size and compact sedans.
Thomas noted that from a sales perspective in February, "the biggest winner was Subaru" with sales up nearly 28 percent. The company "has a very fresh lineup" with all-wheel drive and it is "a very reliable brand," according to Thomas.
Discussing Ford's challenges with the F-150, Thomas observed that the company simply did not yet have enough to sell as the company was still transitioning towards the new aluminum body.
"You could see those numbers on the F-150 go up significantly the rest of the year as the production gets ramped-up," Thomas said.
VW Group was highlighted for being down in February and Thomas felt that the company had not yet gotten "their line-up straight" and that the company did not have a "hit compact SUV" like its competitors.
Thomas reiterated the importance of having a compact SUV in an automaker's line-up, without one, "it's really hurting" sales.
In terms of possible surprises, Thomas noted that Infiniti's large QX80 SUVs sales "were up tremendously."
Kevin Riley and Brianna Valleskey contributed to this report.
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