DETROIT -- Honda Motor Co. was a star in an otherwise ho-hum February for automakers, posting a 9 percent increase in US sales over a year ago on the strength of its redesigned Civic sedan. Others reported more modest gains and declines yesterday, but said sales should pick up this spring as more new vehicles hit the market.
Overall sales for the industry were up 1 percent for the month. US automakers' sales declined 2 percent, while Asian brands saw a 3 percent increase. The seasonally adjusted sales rate for February, which shows what total sales would be if they remained at the same rate for the entire year, was 16.6 million vehicles. Automakers sold 17 million vehicles in all of 2005.
Honda said its car sales climbed 11 percent in February, with the Civic posting a 37 percent sales increase, while truck and sport utility sales rose 5 percent. Honda's US sales jumped 14 percent for the first two months of the year.
''The American consumer is rediscovering cars and the timing for the all-new 2006 Civic couldn't be better," American Honda's executive vice president Dick Colliver said in a statement.
Toyota Motor Corp.'s US sales rose 2 percent in February, a weaker than usual performance for the number one Japanese automaker. Toyota's car sales dropped 3 percent as buyers waited for the redesigned Camry's release in March. But pickup sales were up, with the Tacoma rising 26 percent and the Tundra up 11 percent for the month.
General Motors Corp. said domestic brand sales fell 3 percent in February, with car sales down 14 percent. Truck and SUV sales rose 5 percent as the new Chevrolet Tahoe hit the market.