General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. said U.S. sales rose 10 percent in June, missing analysts’ estimates, as pickups lagged behind the growth in deliveries of cars such as the Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus.
The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for an 18 percent increase in GM sales and 12 percent for Ford. The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker reported 193,415 light-vehicle sales. Chrysler Group LLC sales rose 30 percent, topping the 26 percent average of five estimates. Nissan Motor Co.’s increase was less than estimates.
Deliveries of Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-Series pickups rose less than those of fuel-efficient cars such as the Cruze and Focus amid gasoline above $3.50 a gallon and shortages of small cars by rivals such as Toyota Motor Corp. Lower supply among competitors may result in industrywide sales this year finishing at the low end of Detroit-based GM’s forecast for 2011, said Don Johnson, vice president of U.S. sales.
“The biggest question that we continue to have is ‘how quickly are the Japanese going to rebuild their inventories?’” Johnson said yesterday on a conference call with reporters. The shortages are a “bigger risk” to the industry than evidence of weakness in the U.S. economy such as the 9.1 percent unemployment rate, he said.
GM had forecast 2011 sales of 13 million to 13.5 million vehicles, including medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
GM’s Truck Supply
GM ended June with 122 days’ supply of full-size pickups, Johnson said today, from 110 days at the end of May. The automaker is targeting full-size truck inventory of less than 110 days by the end of the year and may reduce output beyond idling some pickup plants this month, he said.
“We’re not going to overreact, and we’re not going to jump into the market with unusually aggressive incentives to get rid of what some may say is a way-too-high inventory,” Johnson said yesterday. “We can manage it throughout the rest of the year.”
GM’s deliveries in the month rose to 215,358 vehicles from 195,380 a year earlier, the Detroit-based company said today in a statement.
GM rose 14 cents, to $30.50 at 12:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Ford rose 21 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $14.
June light-vehicle deliveries may have run at a 12 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, the average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. That would be an increase from 11.8 million in May, when sales set the slowest pace in eight months, according to researcher Autodata Corp.
Industry Sales ‘Flat’
The industry sales pace in June was “basically flat” from the 11.8 million rate in May, Johnson said yesterday.
Toyota and Honda Motor Co., having lost production after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake March 11 near Japan, may each report sales declines of 13 percent, the average of four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent in May. Confidence among U.S. consumers in June fell to a seven-month low, and the percentage of consumers planning to buy a new vehicle within six months fell to 3.1 percent, the lowest since December, the New York based Conference Board said this week. The percentage of consumers planning to buy a home within six months slid to 3.7 percent, also the lowest since December.
Ford continues to forecast 13 million to 13.5 million vehicle sales, including medium- and heavy-duty trucks, analyst George Pipas told reporters on June 29 in Dearborn.
Ford Reiterates Forecast
Greater availability of models such as the Focus and Fiesta, which have fallen to 20 days’ supply, and cars such as Honda’s Civic and Toyota’s Corolla will help industry sales rebound in the second half, Pipas said. GM said Aveo and HHR car models have less than 16 days’ supply.
Sales for Nissan rose 11 percent in June, Japan’s second- largest automaker said in an e-mailed statement. Nissan sold 71,941 Nissan and Infiniti brand vehicles last month, up from 64,570 a year ago. The average of four analysts’ estimates was for a 25 percent increase.
Light-vehicle sales climbed to 11.6 million in 2010 from a 27-year low of 10.4 million in 2009. Deliveries still were 31 percent fewer than the 16.8 million annual average from 2000 to 2007, according to Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey-based Autodata.
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