General Motors and Ford Motor Co. on Tuesday reported lower U.S. vehicle sales for February, forcing them to cut production as they lost more market share to foreign rivals.
GM and Ford, which both started the year with swollen inventories of unsold cars and trucks, were hurt in February by double-digit declines for many of their mid- and full-sized sport utility vehicles. The segment has suffered from high U.S. gasoline prices, as well as growing competition from car-based or so-called crossover SUVs, analysts say.
Chrysler was buoyed by the success of new products including its brassy 300 series sedan. DaimlerChrysler AG posted a 5.5 percent sales increase, largely because its U.S. unit posted an 8 percent gain in February sales.
Toyota Motor Corp. said February sales rose 11.1 percent, boosted by strong results for its redesigned Avalon sedan and a 120 percent surge in sales of its gas-electric Prius hybrid mid-size sedan. Sales if its Tundra full-sized pickup truck also were up sharply.
The seasonal annual adjusted rate for February was 16,412,343, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
General Motors posted a 12.7 percent drop in U.S. vehicle sales for February. Automotive News Data Center results include GM's Saab brand.
"The bottom line for us is February was a tough month," said Paul Ballew, executive director of global market and industry analysis at GM. "I would describe February as disappointing and below our expectations."
GM's slump prompted it to cut planned North American production, already down about 9 percent, by another 3 percent. The world's largest automaker also said it planned to build 1.25 million vehicles in North America in the second quarter, down about 10 percent from output in the year-earlier period.
Ford said sales dropped 2.9 percent, as stronger sales for its new car lineup failed to offset double-digit declines for many of its sport utility vehicles and its key F-Series pickup trucks. The F-Series pickup, which accounts for a huge chunk of Ford's automotive profit, posted an 11 percent drop in sales compared with February 2004 while the Ford Explorer SUV saw its sales drop 19 percent. Automotive News Data Center results include Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover.
Ford said it was cutting first-quarter North American production by another 10,000 vehicles, or just under 1 percent. It also said it would produce about 940,000 cars and trucks in North America in the second quarter, down 1.2 percent from the second quarter last year.
Mazda, which is partially owned by Ford, recorded a sales increase for February of 2 percent. Porsche sales rose 7.7 percent, Subaru sales increased 7.2 percent and Suzuki sales rose 17.6 percent. Isuzu and Mitsubishi saw sales plummet by 38.5 percent and 39.5 percent respectively.
Hyundai and Nissan continued their sales climb in February, with a 15.4 percent and 10.1 percent gains respectively. Honda U.S. sales declined 7.2 percent for the month. Volkswagen sales also fell 6.2 percent.
|Feb.||Feb.||Pct.||2 mos.||2 mos.||Pct.|
|Ford Motor Co.***||253,281||260,976||–2.9%||453,943||490,212||–7.4%|
|Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere. |
Source: Automotive News Data Center
Note: Other includes estimates for Ferrari, Lamborghini and Lotus
*Includes Mini and Rolls-Royce
***Includes Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo
Includes Honda Division and Acura
Includes Hyundai and Kia
Includes Nissan Division and Infiniti
Includes Toyota Division and Lexus
Includes VW, Audi and Bentley