Tags: US | Auto | Sales

GM's Sales Rise on Strong Demand for Wagons, Pickups

Wednesday, 03 Nov 2010 11:34 AM

General Motors Co. posted a 3.5 percent increase in October U.S. auto sales on Wednesday, trailing smaller rivals for a month expected to represent the high point in a slow-moving recovery for the industry.

GM, which is expected to provide pricing details and launch a road show to market a planned IPO to investors, said sales rose 12.8 percent in its four core brands of Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC and amid strong demand for its pickups and wagons.

U.S. auto sales sank to the lowest levels in more than a quarter century in 2009 under the severe recession and so far this year have been recovering at a slower pace than the industry or its analysts expected.

Automakers are expected to report the strongest U.S. sales rates of the year in October, but sales overall remain well below pre-recession levels of 2007 and are expected to continue a slow pace of recovery along with the U.S. economy.

GM's total vehicle sales, about in line with expectations, are expected to lead the industry in October. A handful of automakers reported U.S. sales on Tuesday, a U.S. election day. The top six by sales volume report sales on Wednesday.

"We don't see a big risk at all of a double-dip," GM's U.S. sales chief, Don Johnson, told reporters on a conference call.

Johnson said consumers have begun to hold on to vehicles longer than in the past in a fundamental shift in buying habits, but GM is confident it has restructured its business to run profitably even in a slower-growth market.

Johnson declined to discuss GM's IPO plans.

GM's smaller rivals had bigger percentage gains.

Ford Motor Co. sales rose 19 percent in October from a year earlier, led by pickup trucks. Chrysler's sales rose 37 percent and Honda reported a 16 percent sales increase.

Chrysler's sales increase represented the seventh consecutive month of year-on-year gains from the prior year when it emerged from a government-funded bankruptcy under the management control of Italy's Fiat.

Nissan Motor Co. said its U.S. sales rose 16.1 percent in October from a year earlier.

On Tuesday, South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co. said its U.S. sales rose nearly 38 percent while its Kia Motors affiliate posted a nearly 39 percent increase.

Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Subaru and Porsche also reported sales increases in October from a year earlier on Tuesday.

Overall, economists polled by Reuters expected U.S. auto sales at about an 11.85 million vehicle seasonally adjusted annualized rate, well off the 16 million vehicle monthly rates routinely registered in 2007 before the U.S. recession.

GM said it expects the annualized sales rate for October to be about 12.1 million light vehicles. Chrysler estimated the sales rate at closer to 12.4 million vehicles.

That would represent the first time the rate had topped 12 million since the Lehman bankruptcy in September 2008, excluding August 2009 when the U.S. government's "cash for clunkers" incentive program boosted results.

For 2010 overall, the industry is expected to post U.S. sales of about 11.5 million light vehicles, up from 10.4 million last year. The industry is expected to have moderate gains from there in 2011, to about 12.8 million vehicles, according to IHS Automotive.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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General Motors Co. posted a 3.5 percent increase in October U.S. auto sales on Wednesday, trailing smaller rivals for a month expected to represent the high point in a slow-moving recovery for the industry. GM, which is expected to provide pricing details and launch a road...
US,Auto,Sales
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2010-34-03
Wednesday, 03 Nov 2010 11:34 AM
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