Auto Industry Hits the Winter Skids

The recent string of massive winter weather events slowed car sales nationwide. January saw a 3 percent decline in overall light vehicle sales with General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Honda all taking hits in the 7 to 12 percent range while VW dropped 19 percent for a fifth straight month of US sales declines.

Significant, though only coincidental to the weather conditions, thanks to the recent introduction of the enormously popular new Cherokee, sales of Jeeps surged 33 percent. Overall Chrysler saw an 8 percent sales gain with a 22 percent jump in big Ram Trucks and 29 percent little Fiat 500s — hot again for consumers with a new expanded L four door model.

More directly tied to current driving conditions, the fast growing Audi brand saw a bump up in Q5 and Q7 SUV sales, making up for losses elsewhere in the line, and breaking even with flat sales for January.

Nissan gained 12 percent as competitors stumbled on reports of aggressive trade-in offers to help sustain momentum gains in the past year by the impressive Altima and Sentra sedans and the more refined Pathfinder SUV.

This George Polgar of GT Marketing for KYW News Radio.