By DON SHILLING
Up and down
February sales for the Chevrolet Cobalt, which was launched in 2004:
February 2005: 7,618
February 2006: 14,277
February 2007: 10,865
February 2008: 16,958
February 2009: 8,317
February 2010: 14,101
Source: Vindicator files
Car buyers are returning to showrooms, and many are choosing the Chevrolet Cobalt.
The locally made car posted a 70 percent sales increase last month.
General Motors said Tuesday that it sold 14,101 Cobalts in the U.S. in February, compared with 8,317 in February 2009. Last month was the second-best sales month for the Cobalt since the collapse of the nation’s stock and credit markets began in September 2008.
“Sales were brisk,” said Mike Hudock, Chevrolet and Cadillac sales manager at Stadium GM Superstore in Salem.
Cobalt sales were stronger in January and February than they had been in almost all of 2009 partly because supply has improved, dealers said. Dealer inventories were reduced by a sales spurt from the government’s Cash for Clunkers incentives last summer.
GM boosted the production of Cobalts in October when it added a second shift to its Lordstown complex, where the car is produced.
Incentives on the Cobalt also have helped, Hudock added. Rebates of up to $4,000 were available last month, with the highest amounts going to owners of discontinued Saturn and Pontiac vehicles.
Greg Greenwood, owner of Chevrolet stores in Austintown and Hubbard, said Cobalt sales this year would be even higher if it weren’t for the Chevrolet Cruze, which will be launched from Lordstown this summer.
“Some people have the discipline to wait for the Cruze,” he said.
Overall, GM’s sales rose 12 percent last month as the automaker posted strong sales of new crossover wagons such as the Chevrolet Equinox and Cadillac SRX.
Hudock said the coming of spring and an improving economy also has helped.
“People are starting to feel good about themselves,” he said.