By on March 9, 2020

The affliction of quarterly sales reporting seems to be particularly virulent, as the practice has jumped from its domestic host and is now infecting foreign automakers. Regardless, some OEMs still report sales on a monthly basis.

Despite gathering economic gloom and an approaching pandemic, February was a hot month for new vehicle sales, though the numbers weren’t entirely organic.

You’ll recall that 2020 is a Leap Year, meaning an extra day tacked onto the calendar. That extra day was a selling day, and it wasn’t alone. This past month boasted two extra selling days, conspiring to inflate sales volume. Combine that with record February sales incentives, and you’ve got a recipe for moving metal.

As reported by Automotive News, both J.D. Power and LMC Automotive say last month’s incentives soared, topping the previous February’s average cash-per-vehicle by $293. The average $4,179 incentive spend is projected to rise even higher as automakers battle to warm up a cooling market.

Volume is still expected to drop in 2020 — a prediction that’s become even more ironclad as coronavirus begins a steady march in the U.S. — but that doesn’t mean automakers have any intention of dropping their tools. Zero-percent financing, once on the path to extinction, has staged a resurgence.

Last month, Mazda saw a repeat of its January sales bounce, with volume rising 19 percent, year over year. Good news for an automaker eager to leave 2019 in its rear-view. Honda and Toyota rose 4.2 and 12 percent, respectively (with these figures covering all divisions), while Hyundai and Kia saw monthly gains of 15.8 and 20.2 percent, respectively. Subaru rose 5.3 percent. Volvo, still on the march in North America, returned a volume gain of 18.2 percent.

Of the automakers listed, the only division to see a year-to-date drop after two months of 2020 is Acura, with volume down 2.2 percent.

[Image: Toyota]

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