Chrysler USA Sales Pop Up 45 Percent in Feb.

Chrysler, Nissan and Volkswagen all reported strong U.S. sales in February, kicking off what is expected to be another strong month for automakers.

Chrysler said its sales were up 40 percent from a year earlier as it sold nearly 134,000 new cars and trucks and all of its brands showed at least double-digit increases. Volkswagen sales rose 42 percent to nearly 31,000, led by the redesigned Passat mid-size sedan. And Nissan sales were up 15.5 percent.

Chrysler was the first automaker to report sales on Thursday. Analysts are forecasting a 3 percent increase for the industry, and all major automakers except General Motors Co. are expected to post higher sales. Smaller cars are expected to lead sales rise because gas prices spiked 30 cents during the month.

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