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Oracle of Delphi

GM expects flat U.S. sales in 2008

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Jamie LaReau

Automotive News

January 3, 2008 - 11:32 am ET

DETROIT - General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner says the automaker expects overall U.S. auto sales to hold roughly flat in 2008 with the depressed levels of 2007 even as global sales hit a new high.

"There are some obvious reasons for concern, but on balance I suspect '08 will be similar to '07 in total, although likely weaker in the first half and stronger in the second," Wagoner wrote in response to a question on his outlook for U.S. vehicle sales.

He added: "In the U.S., we expect (overall sales in the) low 16 millions, but some risk given the economic background."

Wagoner addressed reporters in an online chat session intended to kick off a series of events marking GM's 100th anniversary. Major automakers, including GM, will release sales results for December and 2007 later today.

On other issues:

-- Wagoner took a wait-and-see approach when discussing the battle for No. 1 in global sales with rival Toyota Motor Corp.

“Toyota started out ahead in Q1, then we've passed them through Q3, so it's a race,” Wagoner wrote. “As I recall, we lead in 13 of the 15 largest markets, but Toyota has a huge lead in Japan.”

-- Wagoner sees GM’s strongest 2008 growth in emerging markets such as China, India, Russia, and throughout South America. “Overall, we project about 80 percent of the industry volume growth will be in emerging markets over the next 5 years,” he wrote.

-- Wagoner said new fuel economy rules will be tough for everyone.

“We're working this issue very aggressively, including with the broad range of technologies that I've mentioned earlier. But, we are moving fast with technologies like E85, all electric, fuel cells, and a wide range of hybrid offers, including the widely acclaimed two-mode system.

“We'll need a range of solutions to address this. But it's certainly possible that the new CAFE regulations could limit the range of vehicles offered in the marketplace over time.”

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
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Wagoner wrote. “As I recall, we lead in 13 of the 15 largest markets, but Toyota has a huge lead in Japan.”

I love that line. What a smart_ss comment to make. :)

Edited by Dsuupr
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Well, just think of the huge lead that GM would have if the North American market was closed to Japanese imports! Tit for tat, I say.

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The race will be over, and Toyota will win if GME rules the roost.

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You keep saying GME, what the hell is GME?

GM of Europe, a.k.a. Adam Opel GmbH + Vauxhall Motors.

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Just saw this article on MSNBC. It looks like GM's day as the biggest auto company is rapidly coming to an end :(

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22490691/

DETROIT - If its estimates hold true, Toyota Motor Corp. will depose General Motors Corp. as the world's largest automaker in 2007.

GM said Thursday it made 9.284 million vehicles worldwide last year, roughly 226,000 fewer than Toyota's 2007 production estimate of 9.51 million.

Toyota expects to have final numbers later in January, but issued the 2007 estimate on Dec. 25 with just six days left in the year.

Story continues below ↓

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The real prize, the worldwide auto sales lead, also must still be determined, with both companies to release 2007 global sales figures later this month.

GM Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner said Thursday in an Internet chat with journalists that the companies are in a race to be the top vehicle maker.

"As I recall, we lead in 13 of the 15 largest markets, but Toyota has a huge lead in Japan," Wagoner said. "We're staying focused on our plan. Great cars, smart marketing, growth in the emerging markets. And hopefully that will keep us on top. If not, we'll come back to work the next day and work even harder."

GM said its production figures included several joint ventures worldwide, including one with Toyota in California and ventures in Russia and China. Toyota's estimates include its Daihatsu small car and Hino truck operations.

GM has seen huge production growth outside of North America, offsetting a decline on its home turf.

In 2002, for example, GM's Asia-Pacific unit produced 307,000 vehicles, but that grew to 2.23 million last year. North American production fell from 5.64 million in 2002 to 4.27 million last year, according to figures posted on the company's Web site.

GM predicted nearly flat production worldwide in the first quarter of 2008 compared with the same period last year, saying it expects to build about 2.29 million vehicles. The Detroit automaker has not given a forecast for the number of vehicles it expects to produce or sell for the full year in 2008.

Toyota said it plans to produce 9.95 million vehicles worldwide next year, up 5 percent from this year — the same as the projected annual percentage jump for Toyota's global sales.

Last month Toyota said it plans to sell 9.85 million vehicles worldwide in 2008, setting an ambitious target despite worries about a slowing U.S. car market.

More on this story

Toyota overtakes Ford in U.S. sales

Economy will trouble Detroit in 2008

How much has your car depreciated?

GM has been fiercely fighting back, boosting its overseas business, and could still keep the top industry sales spot, which it has held for 76 years.

After the first nine months of this year, Toyota was — at 7.05 million vehicles sold worldwide — trailing GM's sales of 7.06 million vehicles for the same period.

GM has the industry record for annual global vehicle sales, with 9.55 million vehicles sold in 1978.

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If only all these car and truck awards the past 2 years could mount a huge sales boost for GM then Toyota's sales would erode. But a lot of people are still in the uneducated thinking that American car makers still make junk. Sometimes the media bias is too great for even the Big 3 to overcome quick enough. I for one try to promote GM as much as possible when someone asks what I do and I tell them where I work. They are always like 'oooh isn't GM doing really bad?'. I say no everyone just thinks so and have you seen alot of their new products that have come out recently. The Darkages are still present when it comes to the consumer.

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Well, just think of the huge lead that GM would have if the North American market was closed to Japanese imports! Tit for tat, I say.

yeah but doesn't matter.....GM doesn't exactly have the type of product that the Japanese consumers buy......(microcars, etc.)

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If only all these car and truck awards the past 2 years could mount a huge sales boost for GM then Toyota's sales would erode. But a lot of people are still in the uneducated thinking that American car makers still make junk. Sometimes the media bias is too great for even the Big 3 to overcome quick enough. I for one try to promote GM as much as possible when someone asks what I do and I tell them where I work. They are always like 'oooh isn't GM doing really bad?'. I say no everyone just thinks so and have you seen alot of their new products that have come out recently. The Darkages are still present when it comes to the consumer.

I still see plenty of indifference towards US brands...I mentioned to a colleague about how GM was on the comeback with products new Malibu and CTS and he remarked 'GM? Don't they just make rental cars?'...the sad part is I think he was serious..

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GM of Europe, a.k.a. Adam Opel GmbH + Vauxhall Motors.

SAAB has also been rolled into GME.

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And GM Europe's version of Chevrolet.

I didn't know that. I thought GM converted the Daewoo franchises to Chevrolet, so I assumed Chevrolet belonged to GMAP. Interesting.

Makes sense considering the pending changes that have been implied.

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