U.S. auto sales up in February

The U.S. auto industry saw sizeable growth in February. 

According to a report by Autodata, U.S. automakers registered a 6.9 percent sales increase during the month compared to a year earlier, reported USA Today. Vehicle sales reached an annualized rate of 17.5 million units, which is nearly on par with the full-year record that was set in 2015.  

Ford saw the biggest growth during the month, with sales up 20.2 percent. Fiat Chrysler sales also rose 12.2 percent, but sales at General Motors dropped 1.5 percent in February. Honda was up 12.8 percent, while Nissan rose 10.5 percent. 

Crossovers remained one of the most popular car models in February, with compact crossovers and small SUVs making up 25 percent of total vehicle sales. As for manufacturers, Ford benefited from the continuing trend, with 29.2 percent of its sales in crossover SUVs. 

CBSNews noted that a significant driver of auto sales growth in February were Super Bowl ads. On the day of the game, website visits per dealership were four times higher than any Sunday in 2015. Applications for credit also reached single-day records during the month.