Auto-Sales Slide Continues in February

The car industry is coming off of 'unsustainably' high sales and incentives in 2018, analysts say.

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The auto industry's much-anticipated decline in sales continues, with Edmunds forecasting February sales of nearly 1.3 million new cars and trucks in the U.S. in February.

The projected 1,273,428 tally represents an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16.8 million, and the February count reflects a 10.8 percent increase in sales from January and a 4.1 percent drop from February 2017, Edmunds said in a release Thursday.

"We're seeing a definitive change from how we ended 2017, when incentives and sales were high," Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis at Edmunds, told The Drive.

Incentives are still high, from a historical level, but are coming down from the unsustainable record levels seen at the end of 2017, she added.

Sales should pick up some in March, in part due to the month bringing the end of the Japanese fiscal year, according to Caldwell, who noted of Japanese manufacturers: "they'll turn on more generous incentives." 

General Motors would garner 18.1 percent of the market share in February, with sales of 230,253, according to the forecast, followed by Ford, which is projected to hold a 15.3 percent of market share and sales of 194,976. Toyota is expected to claim 13.7 percent of market share and sell 174,406 vehicles.