GM’s February Sales Up 32 Percent, but Ford Beats ’em for First Time in 12 Years

For the first time in 12 years, Ford topped GM in monthly sales, moving 142,006 vehicles in February compared to GM’s 138,849.

There’s good news for both automakers, though, as General Motors reports that combined sales of Chevy, GMC, Buick, and Cadillac are up 32 percent. The biggest winners appear to be the Chevy Equinox, GMC Terrain, and Cadillac SRX crossovers, which saw a sales increase of 198 percent compared to the vehicles they replaced.

Susan Docherty, GM’s vice president of marketing, said in the press release,

Our sales results for the Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain and Cadillac SRX show these vehicles have what customers are looking for today – style, fuel efficiency, quality and the safety and security of OnStar.

I have to assume that something else these vehicles have is a lack of unintended acceleration issues, which are driving some customers from Toyota Highlanders into Chevy Equinoxes. (Though a new report from NPR says Toyota is certainly not the only automaker with complaints, and GM has had its share too.)

Whatever the reason for the sales rebound, GM is hoping to keep the momentum going by offering a range of zero-percent financing offers on 2009 and 2010 vehicles. Toyota is also offering discounts in an attempt to stave off some of the losses resulting from its catastrophic recalls.

Ford meanwhile may be getting a little cocky as it enjoys the runaway success of the Fusion, which sold 116,500 copies in February. Ford sales chief Ken Czubay said the Fusion was winning new customers for Ford in six out of 10 cases, calling the midsize sedan the “poster child” for Ford’s strategy of taking business without being pulled into a price war.

It seems like GM could do well by carving itself a niche for quality crossovers while Ford takes the small car/family sedan business. If each continues to excel in those segments, a price war between the domestics wouldn’t even be necessary.

Of course, neither company would be content with that scenario, so price wars and sales incentives are inevitable. No matter how cocky Ford gets.

Can GM’s sales continue to increase based on its crossovers alone?


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