Chrysler posts best February U.S. sales in five years

DETROIT, Fri Mar 1, 2013 — Chrysler Group LLC said Friday its U.S. sales of 139,015 in February rose 4 percent from 133,521 a year before and were its best February sales in five years.

The sales tally barely missed the consensus estimate of 140,159 from analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

The automaker, majority owned by Fiat SpA, said sales of the Dodge, Ram Truck and Fiat brands posted year-to-year increases, while the Chrysler and Jeep brands saw declines from a year before.

Chrysler is the first of the major automakers to report February sales.

Industry sales in February were expected to show a fourth straight month of seasonally adjusted annualized sales above 15 million vehicles, for the first time since early 2008, a sign of a sustained recovery after the recession.

At Chrysler, Dodge brand sales in February rose 30 percent to 55,639. Ram Truck sales were up 2 percent to 23,827 and Fiat 500 sales were up 2 percent to 3,302.

Jeep brand sales fell 16 percent to 31,164 and Chrysler brand sales dropped 7 percent to 25,083.

Chrysler said some Jeep vehicles have been in short supply, with the discontinuation of the Liberty last summer and the recent launch of the 2014 Grand Cherokee.