February 2016 Auto Sales: Winners and Losers

Another February is in the books and despite plenty of snow falling across the U.S., new-vehicle sales rose by an impressive amount. Scion and Maserati topped the charts but a couple surprising brands lost ground last month.

All told, more than 1.3-million cars and trucks were sold, which represents a 6.8 percent year-over-year increase, an impressive figure that was enough to make this the strongest February in 15 years. In fact, things were so good the annual adjusted sales rate swelled to more than 17.5 million.

Things are nearly as good for the year. Thus far, deliveries are up 3.4 percent compared to the same time period in 2015. Overall sales are sitting just shy of 2.5 million. Naturally, several brands stood out from the pack, helping buoy these numbers. But for nearly every leader there’s another automaker that didn’t fare as well. Accordingly, here are February’s sales winners and losers. Are you ready?

Winner: Lincoln +30.4 Percent

February-2016-Sales-Winner-Lincoln

Ford’s Lincoln luxury division was an unlikely front-runner last month. This brand hasn’t done much to move the needle in recent years, but its February deliveries rose more than 30 percent. Total sales clocked in at 8,039, a figure that was undoubtedly burnished by the brand’s redesigned MKX crossover, which increased by a whopping 109 percent, though all of Lincoln’s nameplates saw growth.

Winner: Land Rover +30.5 Percent

February-2016-Sales-Winner-Land-Rover

Land Rover narrowly edged out old Honest Abe last month. This indefatigable British brand’s deliveries increased by an inspiring 30.5 percent in February. Total sales exceeded 6,400 units. So far in 2016 more than 12,000 Land Rovers have been sold in America, 18.4 percent more than during the same time period last year.

Winner: Volvo +31.1 Percent

February-2016-Sales-Winner-Volvo

Volvo had a blockbuster February. Its sales grew by more than 31 percent last month, totaling 5,260 units. The Swedish automaker’s all-new XC90 crossover was its top-selling model, accounting for nearly half of all deliveries. For the year, this brand’s sales are up nearly 22 percent.

Winner: Maserati +51.4 Percent

February-2016-Sales-Winner-Maserati

Volvo’s overall volume was pretty trifling, but Maserati’s was far smaller, which is why it saw such a large percentage increase last month. This lusty Italian brand’s year-over-year sales grew in excess of 51 percent, with 728 vehicles sold in February. So far in 2016 about 1,200 Maseratis have been delivered in America.

Winner: Scion +52.2 Percent

February-2016-Sales-Winner-Scion

What’s going on here? Toyota announces that it’s discontinuing the Scion brand and its sales keep going up? We can’t make heads or tails of this, but the youth-oriented division’s deliveries increased by more than 52 percent last month, enough to beat all comers. Overall sales clocked in at nearly 5,900 units.

Loser: Volkswagen -13.2 Percent

February-2016-Sales-Loser-Volkswagen

Not surprisingly given its sooty, self-inflicted “black” eye, Volkswagen’s February sales fell quite a bit, though curiously not by the most. All told, they were off 13.2 percent last month, with deliveries totaling 22,321. For all of 2016, VW’s sales have declined nearly 14 percent with just 42,400 cars and crossovers sold.

Loser: Mazda -16.0 Percent

February-2016-Sales-Loser-Mazda

Mazda is beloved for its sporty, fun-driving and high quality vehicles. Unfortunately, these attributes haven’t necessarily resonated with today’s motorists. The Zoom-Zoom brand’s sales declined 16 percent last month, with deliveries totaling a little more than 21,500 units. For the year its sales are also off, dropping more than 10 percent compared to the first two months of 2015.

Loser: MINI -23.7 Percent

February-2016-Sales-Loser-MINI

BMW’s MINI division has a major problem; its sales are tumbling at a frightening rate. Last month they decreased by nearly 24 percent totaling just 2,839 units. For a little perspective, Lincoln sold nearly three-times as many vehicles … LINCOLN, and they’ve been dead in the water for years. So far in 2016, MINI’s sales are off 12.5 percent, with just 6,077 units sold.

Loser: Chrysler -26.1 Percent

February-2016-Sales-Loser-Chrysler

FCA’s Chrysler division is dragging like a broken leg. Its year-over-year February sales plummeted more than 26 percent with just 21,056 pentastar-branded vehicles leaving dealerships last month. For the year its sales are down as well, more than 24 percent. New products can’t get here soon enough for Chrysler.

Loser: Bentley -68.4 Percent

February-2016-Sales-Loser-Bentley

Finally, we come to last month’s biggest loser, Bentley. This British brand’s sales fell more than 68 percent with just 62 vehicles sold in February. Year-over-year deliveries have fallen 51 percent in 2016, with just 143 cars pushed out this year.

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