General Motors says its U.S. sales rose 1 percent last month, led by its small cars.

Analysts had expected the company to post lower sales compared with last February, when it offered big discounts.

GM says its small cars led the sales increase as gas prices spiked in February. The Chevrolet Sonic subcompact had its best month, with sales of almost 8,000. Chevy Silverado pickup sales rose nearly 2 percent to just over 32,000.

Ford, Chrysler, Nissan and Volkswagen all reported much stronger sales increases.

Analysts are forecasting a 3-percent rise in U.S. sales, and expect small cars to drive the growth.