GM U.S. auto sales up 4%; Ford sales rise 3%; Chrysler down 30%

November 3, 2009 http://detnews.com/article/20091103/AUTO01/911030396

GM U.S. auto sales up 4%; Ford sales rise 3%; Chrysler down 30%

DETROIT NEWS STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

General Motors Co. joined Ford Motor Co. in reporting a sales increase in October, but Chrysler Group LLC saw a significant decline.

GM’s sales increased 4 percent last month compared to a year earlier, the first such increase in 21 months.

GM sold 177,603 vehicles in October and gained market share for the third straight month. The automaker estimates it has 21 percent of the total light vehicle market.

"I don’t want anybody to think we have this licked," said Susan Docherty, GM vice president of U.S. sales. "We have a lot of work to do."

Ford reported a 3 percent rise in monthly sales over October of last year.

The Dearborn-based automakers reported October U.S. sales of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles totaled 132,483.

Ford says it marked the 12th time in 13 months that its U.S. market share increased as it continues to grab buyers from competitors. Sales of cars and crossovers are seeing double-digit increases, while sales of sport utility vehicles and pickups are down. Retail sales of the Taurus have nearly tripled year-ago levels, Ford reported.

Ford said its sales rose 21 percent from September, when auto sales were still in a hangover after the cash for clunkers program boosted sales this summer. Automakers had said October would be a test of how strong the market is without any effect from clunkers.

"Consumer demand for our new high-quality, fuel-efficient products are driving Ford’s market share gains," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing Sales and Service. "Ford vehicles are among the ‘freshest’ available by any automaker — with more than 80 percent of our sales in October coming from our new 2010 models."

Ford reported on Monday that it made nearly $1 billion in the third quarter and its North American division reported its first profitable quarter in four years.

Meanwhile, Chrysler says its October sales fell 30 percent below the same month last year. But they improved from September when the U.S. auto industry had a hangover from the government’s summertime "cash for clunkers" program.

The maker of the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram truck brands says it sold 65,803 vehicles last month, up 6 percent from September.

Chrysler, which is announcing its five-year business plan Wednesday, is aiming to show steady improvement from month to month as the U.S. economy starts to emerge from its yearlong slump. The automaker’s sales dropped 42 percent in September following the end of hefty clunker rebates.

"The industry showed signs of improvement this month with increasing sales, which is a trend we expect to continue for the remainder of the year," said a statement from Fred Diaz, President and Chief Executive Officer-Ram Brand and Lead Executive for the Sales Organization, Chrysler Group LLC. "Chrysler Group expects to get its fair share of the increases as November and December traditionally are two of the best months for SUV sales, and the Jeep brand offers customers the best SUVs in the marketplace."

Other automakers also reported their October sales figures Monday:

 

  • Toyota Motor Corp. reported sales of 152,165 units, an increase of less than 1 percent from the same period last year.

     

     

  • American Honda Motor Co., Inc., posted vehicle sales of 85,502, a decrease of less than 1 percent from October 2008.

     

     

  • Nissan North America Inc. reported sales of 60,115 units, an increase of 5.6 percent, from the same period last year.

     

     

  • Mercedes-Benz USA reported sales of 18,193 vehicles, its highest month of the year and a 21.3 percent improvement over October 2008.

     

     

  • Subaru said its sales surged 41 percent, helped by strong sales in its Outback and Forester models.

     

     

  • Audi reported sales in the U.S. of 7,358, a result that approached the all-time October record set by the brand a year earlier.
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