DETROIT — General Motors and Ford reported U.S. sales declines last month as frigid temperatures and snowstorms pounded much of the nation.
The country’s top two automakers both said the month started slowly but sales began to recover in the second half, a sign that fears of a broader auto sales slowdown may be unfounded.
Chrysler and Nissan reported double-digit gains, although they had to discount some key models to get there.
Volkswagen, which has been struggling in the U.S., reported a 14 percent drop.
Industry analysts expect overall sales to rise about 1 percent for the month, a slow pace compared with 8 percent increase for all of last year. Most blame the weather, but some are wondering if the momentum of the past four years is waning.
Dealer inventories, especially for the Detroit automakers, have hit their highest level in five years.
Larry Dominique, executive vice president of TrueCar, said automaker spending on discounts is growing faster than average sales prices, but he predicted that the bargains will wane as the weather gets warmer and customers return to dealers.
“We expect a return to balance once the winter subsides and inventories ease,” he said.