U.S. light-vehicle demand dropped 2.3 percent last month as most major automakers posted declines and the market continued to cool.
The seasonally adjusted sales rate came in at 17.12 million, softer than January but still the sixth straight month above a historically strong 17 million.
Ford Motor Co. and General Motors each fell by about 7 percent while American Honda dropped 5 percent and Nissan Motor Corp. was off 4.3 percent. FCA US may have found some solace in a 1.4 percent setback -- its smallest drop in nine months.
Toyota Motor Corp. and the Volkswagen brand were each up for a second straight month.
After seven years of post-recession gains starting with 2010, sales have risen in just three of the last 12 months, including a 1.2 percent increase to start 2018.
Sharp February declines in sales of high-profit, big pickups at GM and FCA pickup sales may add to any concerns. At the same time, transaction prices continued to rise, and the pace of incentive spending by some measures slowed, albeit slightly.
U.S. sales are now off 0.7 percent through February after falling 1.8 percent in 2017.
Company by company
GM, which posted a 6.9 percent decline, said fleet sales rose 7 percent, driven by a 15 percent increase in commercial shipments, while retail volume slipped 10 percent "compared to an exceptionally strong February 2017."
Demand fell 8.8 percent at Chevrolet and 8 percent at GMC while rising 1.2 percent at Buick and 14 percent at Cadillac.
While crossover demand remained strong, GM's car sales fell 16 percent. And sales of GM's big pickups, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, dropped by 16 percent or more.
At Ford, volume dropped 6.8 percent, with retail sales off 8.5 percent and fleet down 3.8 percent. Deliveries dropped 6.1 percent at the Ford division and 23 percent at Lincoln. Ford posted weaker car and SUV sales and strong pickup volume.
FCA US extended its losing streak to 18 months as the company continued to cut back on fleet sales -- a key part of its profitability push.
Every FCA brand except Jeep and Alfa Romeo declined. FCA said fleet sales fell 3 percent compared with February 2017. Jeep shipments rose 12 percent -- the second consecutive monthly gain after a 16-month string of declines. Demand dropped 3.5 percent at the Chrysler brand, 8.4 percent at Dodge, 14 percent at Ram and 42 percent at Fiat.
Nissan Motor Co. reported a 4.3 percent decline in February sales, with volume off 4 percent at the Nissan brand and 6.7 percent at Infiniti.
Among other automakers, sales rose 3.8 percent at Subaru, 13 percent at Mazda, 6 percent at the VW brand and 19 percent at Mitsubishi.
At smaller luxury players, volume rose 35 percent at Volvo, 4.2 percent at BMW, 12 percent at Audi, 21 percent at Porsche and 19 percent at Land Rover. Jaguar was down 37 percent and Hyundai's Genesis slid 14 percent.