Mitsubishi Sales Sign of a Rebound?

February sales for the auto maker up 22% year-over-year in the U.S. Could the brand be making a comeback?

Dealers sold 1,254,924 vehicles in the U.S. last month, just shy of the 1,261,346 sold in February 2006. International brand sales reached 576,979 vehicles – what amounts to 46 percent of the total U.S. market share for automobiles.

Overall, auto sales in the U.S. were mixed with Ford dropping 13 percent and GM picking up three percent. Toyota Motor Corp. led the pack with a combined 12 percent jump in monthly sales, while Honda Motor Company Ltd. (Honda and Acura) gained 3 percent from February 2006.

Following is a breakdown of January 2007 monthly sales by international nameplate:

Toyota Has Best-Ever February

Toyota led the way once again for international brands, up 13 percent for a grand total of 164,812 vehicles sold, and marking the automaker's best-ever February sales. Amid speculation that the market for hybrids is cooling off, hybrid sales reached an all-time high for Toyota and its luxury brand Lexus. Setting an overall record, the Prius hybrid led the way with 12,227 units sold, up 87 percent and nearly doubling last February's sales pace. Calendar-year-to-date hybrid sales for all Toyota brands totaled 33,182 units, an increase of 45 percent over the year-ago month. And in February, TMS posted sales of 18,860 hybrid vehicles, up 72 percent.

Toyota passenger cars recorded best-ever February sales of 92,938, up 20.2 percent over the same period last year. Camry once again proved Toyota's best seller in the passenger cars segment, posting sales of 32,148, up 17.5 percent over last February. Meanwhile, Corolla sales for February hit 28,321 units, an increase of 12.9 percent. Sales for the Yaris subcompact totaled 5,702 units for the month.

Led by the RAV4 compact SUV, up 5.2 percent over February 2006,Toyota light truck sales rose 4.9 percent, reaching a best-ever February of 71,874 units sold. The all-new Tundra full-size pickup reported sales of 9,669 units. The Highlander and Highlander Hybrid posted combined February sales of 9,368, up 3.7 percent over the same period last year. The Highlander Hybrid gas-electric mid-size SUV reported sales of 1,892 units for the month. FJ Cruiser sales reached 5,040 units in February.

…Lexus Too!

Lexus reported best-ever February sales of 22,518 units, an increase of 6.6 percent. Passenger car sales for the brand also had a best-ever February reaching sales of 13,491 units, an increase of 27 percent over the same period last year. The ES 350 luxury sedan led the way with February sales of 5,286 units, up 64 percent. The all-new LS 460 reported sales of 2,423, an increase of 138.7 percent.

Lexus light trucks reached February sales of 9,027 units with the RX 350 and RX 400h reporting combined February sales of 7,086 units. The RX 400h hybrid luxury utility vehicle reported sales of 1,249 units for the month.

Scion Down

Scion posted February sales of 8,956 units. The tC sports coupe led the way with February sales of 4,366 units, down 13.5 percent from last February. Scion xB posted sales of 2,868 units for the month, down 29.6 percent.

Accord and CR-V Help Honda to Best-Ever February

Last month marked Honda's best-ever February sales month reaching a record of 96,368 units sold, an increase of 4.2 percent over February 2006. Strong Accord sales led the way, up 20.1 percent for a total of 30,370 units sold. Honda sold a total of 2,236 hybrid vehicles, including 1,924 Civic Hybrids, an 8.1 percent increase over last year.

Honda division light trucks post record February sales of 43,157 trucks, up 2.8 percent over year-ago results. The CR-V, for the third consecutive month, posted record gains, up 31.0 percent for a total of 13,524 units.

Trucks and TSX Big for Acura

Acura posted reached sales of 13,658 units in February, thanks to record truck sales of 6,364 units and 2,769 TSX sales. The MDX luxury SUV was Acura's best-selling model with February sales of 4,330 units and year-to-date sales of 8,483 units.

Nissan Cars Pickup Where Trucks Left Off

Despite an 8.4 drop in Nissan brand truck sales, Nissan sales remained flat for the month thanks to healthy car sales. Nissan brand car sales advanced 9.7 percent to 41,249 vehicles from 37,593 vehicles. Sales of the Altima sedan rose 10.1 percent from last February to 22,114 vehicles. The all-new Versa subcompact reached sales of 5,125 vehicles in its first sales month.

As noted above, Nissan brand truck sales fell 8.4 percent to 34,265 units. Sales of the Armada and Murano SUVs were up 2.5 percent and 9.1 percent, respectively. Quest minivan sales rose 33.1 percent for the month. Sales of the Nissan Titan pickup dropped 13.6 percent to 6,058 units.

So far this year, Nissan North America sales are up 4.8 percent to 167,862 units.

Infiniti Up 5 Percent

Infiniti brand sales last month rose 5 percent from February 2006 to 9,704 units. Sales of the redesigned G sedan jumped a whopping 50.3 percent to 4,345 units. Infiniti FX 35 / 45 sales rose 3.8 percent in February.

Mazda3 Is the Bright Spot

Mazda3 sales rose 15 percent last month to a total of 8,667 units. But overall sales for Mazda dropped 6.4 percent in February. The brand is hoping to get a jolt from sales of its attractively designed CX-9 SUV, displayed at the Detroit Auto Show in January. CX-7 and CX-9 sales reached 2,952 units and 1,168 units, respectively for the month.

Subaru Down 5.6 Percent

Subaru sales dropped 5.6 percent in February to a total of 12,875 units. Sales of the Impreza model line remain strong as it recorded a 14 percent increase over the same period last year to 2,946 units. Subaru Legacy recorded 5,776 unit sold for the month, while Outback sales accounted for 4,283 units. Subaru Forester recorded 2,971 units in February, while Baja posted 217 units for the month. And the Subaru B9 Tribeca posted 964 units sold.

Suzuki Reaches Best February in Company History

Just a hair ahead of last year, Suzuki marked its best February sales month in company history as it reached 8,585 units sold last month. The new monthly sales record follows a record-setting 2006, when Suzuki enjoyed vehicle sales of more than 100,000 vehicles for the first time in its 22-year history. Year-to-date sales in 2007 also remain ahead of last year's total.

Suzuki's record February was led by sales of the new XL7 crossover SUV with 2,402 units sold and a 68 percent increase in sales of the Aerio line, which now includes the all-new SX4.

Mitsubishi Up 22 Percent

Mitsubishi's February 2007 sales rose 22 percent from last February for a total of 9,726 units. Aiming to get its U.S. operations back on track, Mitsubishi's year-to-date sales have increased a whopping 23.7 percent compared to the first two months of 2006. The February increase follows January's increase of more than 25 percent.

The brand hopes to gain even more momentum this spring when it introduces its new Lancer sedan to dealer showrooms. The Lancer shares a platform with Mitsubishi's new fuel-efficient Outlander crossover SUV, which reached sales of 1,956 units last month, up 84.4 percent from last February's volume. Year-to-date sales of the Outlander were up 114 percent at the close of February.

Galant sales were up 9.7 percent in February and 7.2 percent year-to-date. Endeavor SUV sales were up more than 35 percent in February. Eclipse coupe sales were up 12.8 percent in February and 24.1 percent year-to-date. Eclipse Spyder convertible sales were more than ten times higher than February 2006.

Isuzu Continues Sales Slump

Isuzu continued to suffer last month, with sales dropping 29.8 percent. Total sales for the brand reached 559 units, down from 796 units last February. The Isuzu I Series pickup was the only positive for the brand, up 1.4 percent for the month for a total of 287 units.

Kia Hits Best-Ever February

Kia had its best-ever February sales month, reaching 23,512 units last month for a 13.5 percent increase over February 2006. Year-to-date sales for Kia totaled 46,036 units, an 18.6 percent improvement over 2006. Spectra had a strong month with 4,545 units, a 10.8 percent increase over the same period last year. The all-new Rondo reached 928 units sold for the month.

Hyundai Too!

Hyundai also had its best February on record as it hit sales of 34,500 vehicles last month, up 1.4 percent from the same month last year. The 2007 Santa Fe was a solid contributor as it doubled its sales to 7,134 units, an increase of 109.3 percent from last year.

The Hyundai Accent and Azera models also performed well, up 95.6 percent and 32.2 percent, respectively.

Volkswagen Relatively Flat

Volkswagen brand U.S. sales edged 0.2 percent higher to 16,367 units last month. The Eos retractable hard-top convertible help spur sales for the German automaker with 725 units sold. Beetle convertible sales were also strong, up 33 percent for a total of 1,323 units.

Volkswagen Rabbit/Golf sales rose 41.5 percent for a total of 2,525 units. Meanwhile, sales of the Jetta sedan, the biggest contributor for the VW brand, dropped 1.6 percent to 6,652 units, while its Passat sedan suffered a fall of 31.3 percent to just 2,641 units.

Audi Up, Up, Up and Away!

Coming off a stellar 2006, Audi sales rose a whopping 37.5 percent in February 2007. Sales totaled 6,609, for the month; for the year, sales have reached 13,008 vehicles, an increase of 19.4 percent versus the same period last year.

Sales of the A4 model continue to set the pace for the brand. A4 sales increased 18.6 percent. The Audi Q7 also continued its strong sales performance with 1,747 units sold.

BMW Combined Sales Up 11.9 Percent

The BMW Group (BMW and MINI brands combined) reported February sales of 24,642 vehicles, an increase of 11.9 percent over last February. Year-to- date, BMW Group sales increased 5.0 percent, to 46,453 vehicles.

BMW brand sales reached 22,274 units sold, up 15.2 percent over February 2006. Year-to-date, BMW reported sales of 42,035 vehicles compared to the 38,602 reported in the same period a year ago, an increase of 8.9 percent.

BMW's February car sales increased 12.2 percent for the month to 17,342 units. The new 3 Series Coupe and the new 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder engines available in all variants of the 3 Series helped drive this sales surge, according to the company. For the first two months combined, BMW automobile sales increased 6.3 percent to 32,871 units.

BMW SUV sales in February rose 27.6 percent to 4,932 vehicles, thanks in part to strong sales of both the X3 and the new X5. Year-to-date, BMW SUV sales increased to 9,164 vehicles, up 19.3 percent.

MINI Down 12 Percent

MINI USA reported February sales of 2,368, down 12 percent compared to the 2,690 sold in February 2006. For the first two months of 2007, the niche brand recorded a drop of 21.6 percent for a total of 4,418 units. The sales reflect the lower inventory associated with the model changeover. With the all-new MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S introduction on February 17th, sales are expected to increase in March.

Mercedes Flat

Mercedes-Benz reached February sales of 17,304 units, down just 0.3 percent from last February (MBUSA's highest February on record). Year-to-date, MBUSA sales have reached 34,373 units, up 15.2 percent over the same period in 2006.

Passenger car sales totaled 11,890 units in February, with the company's volume model lines C- and E-Class leading the pack for a combined 30.9 percent increase over February 2006 to 6,921 total units. Highlights for the month also included a 12.8 percent increase in volume for the M-Class family of luxury light trucks to 2,431 total units and a whopping 212.7 percent increase in sales of the unique luxury SUV G-Class to 172 total units.

Sales for Mercedes vehicles in the luxury light truck segment continue to exhibit a strong performance as a group with a 15.7 percent increase over February 2006.

Porsche Down

February sales for Porsche fell 27.1 percent on a drop in demand for its Cayenne models resulting from the phasing out of the 2006 version of the vehicle. The luxury sport brand sold 1,967 vehicles, down from 2,700 in February 2006. Cayenne sales fell 61 percent to 360 units, as a result of limited supply of its 2006 models. The 2008 Cayenne went on sale the first Saturday of March.

Boxster and Cayman sales dropped 40 percent to 519 units, while sales of the 911 series rose 20.4 percent to 1,086 units.

Jaguar Down 28.3 Percent

Jaguar continued its decline last month, down 28.3 percent in sales for a total of 1,191 vehicles sold. The XK was the volume leader with 318 unit sales, up 128.3 percent over last February.

Volvo Up Slightly

Volvo sales rose a slight 0.7 percent last month for a total of 8,453 units sold. The XC90 was the brand's volume leader at 2,538 units; followed closely by the S40 sedan at 2,101 units, up 15.4 percent for the month. The XC70 also had a strong showing, up 22.5 percent for the month for a total of 1,095 units. The C70 convertible helped sales with 255 units.

Land Rover Down 10 Percent

Land Rover sales dropped 10 percent in February for a total of 3,106 units. The Range Rover Sport was the volume leader for the brand at 1,182 units sold.

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