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 / Updated  / Source: Reuters

U.S. auto sales in February were more brisk than expected as hefty incentives lured customers into dealerships late in the month despite cold and snowy weather.

General Motors beat analysts' expectations, saying Monday that sales dipped 1 percent to 222,104 vehicles. Analysts had expected by a drop of 6 percent for the biggest auto company in the U.S. market.

While GM's Malibu, Cruze and Sonic passenger cars each posted double-digit gains, sales of the company's top-selling Chevy Silverado pickup truck fell 12 percent.

Auto sales beat expectations in February, despite winter's chillGARY CAMERON / Reuters

Ford Motor Co slightly beat expectations by posting U.S. sales of 183,947 vehicles, down 6 percent from a year earlier.

John Felice, head of U.S. sales for Ford, said the month had started slowly but surged in the final week, "providing us momentum" heading into March, when temperatures are expected to moderate.

A poll of 34 analysts by Thomson Reuters showed expectations that overall U.S. sales for February would be flat with a year earlier. GM said it expected industrywide U.S. auto sales of 15.4 million vehicles in February on an annualized basis, matching a forecast of 34 analysts polled by Reuters.

Also topping analysts' expectations were Chrysler Group and Nissan Motor Co.

-- Reuters