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GM alone posts sales rise

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Car Sales Fall 4.3%;

GM Alone Posts Rise

By JOSÉE VALCOURT and MIKE SPECTOR

February 2, 2008; Page A2

DETROIT -- U.S. auto sales fell 4.3% in January and slumped to their slowest level in years, adding to fears the economy is slipping into a recession.

Two of the Big Three Detroit auto makers, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC, saw declines, as did their Japanese competitors Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., and Nissan Motor Co.

General Motors Corp.'s sales were up 2.6% over a weak January a year earlier, but its figure was still poor by historical standards.

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1/8/08Auto makers sold a total of 1,043,947 cars and light trucks in January, according to Autodata Corp. That put the industry's seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate, known as the SAAR, at 15.24 million light vehicles, at the low end of most forecasts for the first half of 2008.

In separate conference calls, Ford, GM and Toyota officials expressed optimism they will see an improvement in vehicle demand in the second half of the year as a result of the Federal Reserve's interest-rate cuts and the economic-stimulus package now being negotiated in Washington.

The impact of these efforts should "kick in big time in the third quarter this year," said Michael DiGiovanni, GM's top sales analyst.

Auto makers sold 16.1 million cars and light trucks in the U.S. market in 2007, well below the totals from the previous six years, when they sold about 17 million vehicles annually. Toyota expects sales in the second half to rebound and enable this year's total to reach about 16 million, spokesman Irv Miller said.

GM, whose sales rose to 250,926 vehicles from 244,614 in January 2007, attributed the improvement to higher sales to individuals. It posted a 17% drop in sales to rental-car companies, a low-margin business most auto makers are trying to move away from. GM estimated its market share rose about two percentage points to more than 24%.

By historical standards, however, GM still had a rough month. Last month was the company's second-worst January since at least 1980, according to Autodata, surpassing only January 2007. Edmunds.com, an auto-shopping Web site that tracks industry data, said GM spent an average of $3,402 in sales incentives for each vehicle it sold, about $1,000 more than in the same month a year earlier.

A GM spokesman attributed the rise to high incentives for GM's full-size pickup trucks, which carried smaller, or no, incentives a year earlier.

Ford's U.S. sales fell 3.9%. Its total of 159,276 vehicles, down from 165,668, was the lowest in the month of January since 1981, according to Autodata.

Chrysler, which had pumped up its figures through most of 2007 by selling heavily to rental fleets, scaled back the practice. Its sales fell 12% to 137,392 vehicles from 156,308.

JANUARY U.S. AUTO SALES

Company Sales % Change

General Motors 250,926 2.6%

Toyota Motor 171,849 (2.3%)

Ford Motor 159,276 (3.9%)

Chrysler 137,392 (12%)

Honda Motor 98,511 (2.3%)

At Toyota, sales fell 2.3%, but its total of 171,849 vehicles put it well ahead of Ford as the No. 2 manufacturer in the U.S. behind GM. Honda's sales declined 2.3%, and Nissan's 7.3%.

Auto makers are suffering under the weight of a prolonged housing downturn, rising fuel prices and tightening credit conditions. "It's not going to get any easier, at least for a while," said Jim Farley, Ford's top marketing executive.

Chrysler, hoping to repair a battered image among consumers, said it plans to unveil an ad campaign emphasizing that the company is listening to customers as it designs cars. Chrysler will run television ads on Super Bowl Sunday and on news programs during the Super Tuesday presidential primaries.

Chrysler hopes it can get new customers by offering discounts while other auto makers try to hold the line on incentives.

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Not true sir, MB posted 7% increase in volume.

so did Bimmer I believe.

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so did Bimmer I believe.

Bimmer tanked almost 26%. In individual brands only GM, MB, Volvo, Mazda and Mini saw gains.

Here is the link from WSJ that will help you.

Linkity

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the article said only major automakers...

mazda and volvo are owned by ford, who went down how much?

but anywho... i was just reciting the article

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Being a fan of GM, Mazda and MINI I thought it was a great month. Was really glad to see Hyundi and Kia down bigtime.

Chris

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Yeah but the incentives spending is up again. To move cars, but keep sales a-float not that Toyo wasn't doing that. Good to hear. I want another 11 months of this.

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