DETROIT -- The auto industry yesterday reported its second straight month of sluggish sales with a 5 percent increase over last February's bleak results in the run-up to the war in Iraq.
The seasonally-adjusted annual sales rate for February was 16.4 million units, compared with 15.6 million in February 2003. The sales rate indicates what sales for the full year would be if they remained at the same pace. Full-year sales for 2003 were 16.7 million.
The sluggish beginning to 2004 could be the result of intensive sales at the end of the year, said David Healy, an analyst with Burnham Securities Inc.
GM, the world's biggest automaker, said it sold 6 percent more vehicles, including a 9.4 percent increase in car sales and a 3.4 percent rise in truck sales.
Ford Motor Co., meanwhile, saw sales fall 3.2 percent. Car sales dropped 15.2 percent, while truck sales were up 3.3 percent, buoyed by the continued success of F-series pickups.
Chrysler said it sold 1.2 percent more vehicles compared with February 2003. Its car sales dropped 18.2 percent, while truck sales rose 7.8 percent.
Both Ford and GM said their forecasts for total industry sales in 2004 were unchanged at about 17 million units.