Presidents Day promotions and a slight warm-up from January’s unusually harsh winter weather may have helped U.S. auto sales improve this month, but probably not by much.

Automotive News reported that high inventories and rising incentives are raising questions about whether the auto industry has lost some of its momentum as the critical spring selling season draws near.

“We expect elevated incentive spending to continue,” Larry Dominique, executive vice president of TrueCar, said in a statement. “March is going to be a ‘must-win’ month for dealers if they hope to have a successful 2014.”

TrueCar estimates that February new-vehicle sales will rise just 0.5% from a year ago, to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 15.4 million. That compares with a SAAR of 15.2 million last month, when snowstorms and subzero temperatures across large swaths of the country dampened showroom traffic, and 15.3 million in February 2013.

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