The harsh winter weather that has enveloped much of the country this month – ice, snow and sub-zero temperatures crippling major metropolitan areas in the Midwest, Southeast and along the Atlantic Coast — has chased consumers out of showrooms.
It also appears to have led to a modest shift in what U.S. motorists have been buying, with more of an emphasis on crossovers and SUVs, in particular, and all-wheel-drive models, in general.
Carmakers have been reluctant to make any predictions about the monthly sales with key markets such as Atlanta, Dallas, Washington D.C. and Chicago hit hard by combinations of ice, snow and severe cold. But preliminary numbers – with final sales totals due out next week – aren’t promising. If so, it would prove to be the second month in a row with the industry in the minus column, along with the temperature, a sharp reversal from last year’s booming automotive recovery.