The hidden gem: The Chrysler Sebring, favored by the boss in NBC's sitcom The Office, led the pack by doubling its sales from a year ago as its parent company pared down its models. Jeep's Compass and Commander also posted triple-digit gains, while Dodge Avenger and Charger sales increased more than 50%.
The headline: Daimler ( DAI) sold 15,385 Mercedes vehicles, an 8.4% improvement from last February. The hidden gem: Daimler's undergrown offspring, Smart USA, boosted sales nearly 60% since January, but saw sales plummet 68.8% since last February. Even for a two-seater, that's uncomfortable.
The headline: Honda's ( HMC) sales rose 12% as the Toyota Camry's troubles boosted Accord sales more than 40% from last year. Acura sales also jumped 16.2% The hidden gem: Though sales of hybrid models increased 73.3% to 2,360, Toyota's Prius alone still topped that total by more than 5,000 vehicles.
The headline: The entire company's sales rose 30% from last February, with Nissan sales up 32% and Infinity sales climbing 11%. The hidden gem: Credit Toyota for the higher-end Maxima's 89.5% sales boost, but thank a polarized consumer base for doubling sales of Versa subcompacts and Armada SUVs.
The headline: Subaru's 38% sales increase from last February was driven by a 95% jump in Legacy sales and a whopping 156% hike in Outback wagon purchases. The hidden gem: There may be a bit of cannibalism among the ranks, as both the Outback's design and sales figures begin to resemble the Forester SUV. While more than 6,000 of each were sold in February, Outback's year-to-date sales have grown 138% compared to 1% for its bigger stablemate.
The headline: Hyundai sales grew 11% from last year and the company gained market share against Toyota. The Kia division grew 9%, selling 8,207 Sorento SUVs. The hidden gem: So Hyundai's Toyota-based incentives must have bruised the margins a bit, right? Maybe not. According to Edmunds.com, Hyundai spent nearly $1,700 less per car on incentives last month than it did in February 2009.