Chrysler’s February cars-sales tally surged 116.5% from year-ago, largely driven by demand for its core-brand offerings, according to WardsAuto data.

Chrysler 200 midsize car deliveries totaled 9,717, a 294.4% gain from like-2011 that pushed the model past the 100,000-unit mark since its launch 13 months ago. Sales of the 300 fullsize car skyrocketed 456.6%.

Dodge also contributed to the trend with a 38.8% jump highlighted by 7,324 deliveries of the Charger, a 300 platform-mate. The Charger total represented a 114.6% climb from like-2011, according to WardsAuto data, which is adjusted for selling days – 25 last month, compared with 24 in like-2011.

Meanwhile, Fiat marked its best year in the U.S. since returning to the market in March 2011. Dealers delivered 3,227 units of the 500 minicar, eclipsing the previous high-water mark of 3,107 set in August.

Last month, Chrysler recorded just 1,911 sales of the 500 – its most economical car with a peak combined city/highway fuel-economy rating of 33 mpg (7.1 L/100 km).

Chrysler’s car sales surge is consistent with an industry trend influenced by rising pump prices. Last month marked a new record high for February, as the average national per-gallon price of regular-grade gas hit $3.55.

“A few years ago, higher fuel prices were a major threat to our total vehicle sales,” Reid Bigland, Dodge-brand president and CEO and head of U.S. sales, says in a statement. “Today those higher prices have become far less of an issue.”

Bigland credits the auto maker’s lineup, which features 13 vehicles boasting highway fuel-economy ratings of at least 25 mpg (9.4 L/100 km), six of which get at least 31 mpg (7.6 L/100 km).

Volatile fuel prices did not seem to affect Chrysler light-truck sales, which climbed 16.2%.

Jeep was February’s star performer with a 25.1% delivery surge on 37,312 units, while the Ram fullsize pickup – Chrysler’s perennial volume leader – chalked up 21,917 sales for a 17.2% gain on prior-year.

Chrysler deliveries soared 35.1% for the month. Through February, sales were tracking 41.9% ahead of like-2011.

emayne@wardsauto.com