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GM, Ford Sales Fall As Asian Brands Gain- : ( guess Mustang is a bust
yahoo ^ | June 1, 6:31 pm ET | Dee-Ann Durbin

Posted on 06/01/2005 5:04:36 PM PDT by Flavius

DETROIT (AP) -- The U.S. automotive scene changed little in May: General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. again reported decreased demand for their vehicles, particularly trucks and SUVs, while Chrysler Group and Asian brands generally posted positive results.

ADVERTISEMENT To make matters worse for GM and Ford -- and their suppliers -- both automakers said Wednesday they plan to cut third-quarter production because of sluggish business. The cuts are sure to hurt the companies' bottom lines.

George Pipas, Ford's top sales analyst, said May was a weak month for the industry, especially compared to last year. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate for May was 16.6 million vehicles, down from 17.7 million last May. The rate indicates what sales would be for the full year if they remained at the same pace for all 12 months. Full-year sales for 2004 were about 17 million.

"The consumer appears to have taken a little pause," Pipas said. "The Memorial Day weekend was pretty strong, but it didn't outdo the month-end reporting of a year ago."

GM and Ford, the nation's two biggest automakers, saw sales slip again in May as customers continued to turn away from their sport utility vehicles and trucks in favor of models from Asian competitors. The traditional Big Three automakers saw truck sales slip 4.4 percent in May, while Asian automakers saw comparable sales rise 6.9 percent.

GM's car sales fell 1.6 percent and truck sales slid 7.8 percent for the month compared with May 2004. GM's sales are now off 5.2 percent for the year. GM hopes that will change next month, when it offers consumers the chance to buy vehicles at the discount rate normally reserved for employees.

"Our challenge in the marketplace is breaking through with consumers," said Paul Ballew, GM's executive director of global market and industry analysis. "Our products are better than they are perceived."

At Ford, the No. 2 carmaker behind GM, new vehicle demand fell for the 12th straight month. Truck sales were down 6.4 percent, and total sales slipped nearly 3 percent for the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands. Ford's U.S. business is off 4 percent for the first five months of the year.

There were some bright spots for domestic automakers. DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group said car sales rose 13 percent and truck sales were up 3 percent for the month. The Chrysler 300 sedan and the Chrysler Town and Country minivan helped the Chrysler brand set an all-time monthly sales record, the company said.

Ford's Mustang coupe had its highest May sales since 1980, up 47 percent from last May. But that blistering pace will likely subside in June, Pipas said, because the company can't keep up with demand. GM's Cadillac division also enjoyed its best sales month in 12 years.

The news for Asian automakers was generally good, though results were lower than the double-digit increases some companies saw in April. Toyota Motor Corp.'s sales rose 7.8 percent last month, dragged down a bit by flat truck sales. Overall sales for the automaker are up 11.9 percent for the year.

Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co.'s truck sales are up 23 percent for the year thanks to its new Tucson SUV, which had a record sales month in May. Hyundai's sales gained 8.5 percent for the month and 12.5 percent for the year.

Nissan Motor Co.'s truck sales are up 27 percent for the year, led by the Armada SUV. Nissan's sales jumped 15.5 percent in May and are up 15.8 percent for the year.

"We're getting on people's shopping lists for the first time" in the SUV segment, said Jed Connelly, Nissan North America's senior vice president for sales and marketing.

Honda Motor Co. saw a 19 percent decline in its aging car lineup. But its trucks, including the new Honda Ridgeline pickup, saw a 14.3 percent increase over last May. Honda's sales are up less than 1 percent for the year.

Sales percentages are adjusted for differences in the number of selling days. There were 24 selling days in May 2005 and 26 in May 2004.

GM, the world's largest automaker, said it plans to cut third-quarter production by more than 100,000 vehicles, or 9 percent. Ford, meanwhile, said it plans to trim third-quarter production by 17,000 vehicles, or 2 percent.

Auto suppliers, already pinched by high steel prices, have been struggling with the cuts all year. GM cut production by around 10 percent in the first and second quarters, and Ford cut production by 10 percent in the first quarter and nearly 5 percent in the second quarter.

Pipas said the cuts will help the automakers adjust their inventories and predicted that production will stabilize in the second half of the year.

GM shares fell 14 cents to close at $31.39 on the New York Stock Exchange. Ford shares fell 6 cents to close at $9.92 and Chrysler shares gained 30 cents to close at $40.59.

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: automakers; autosales; ford; fordmotor; generalmotors
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To: ambrose
they're anything like the old Yugos, it will be quite easy to pass on that. Better to buy a quality used Japanese model than to purchase new Chinese junk.

True, but it will hammer the used car market. Why buy a used vehicle for 7K when you can get a new one for the same price. Also, don't forget GM is setting up factories in CHina that they claim is for the Chinese market. I don't believe them. They'd love to build cheap in CHina and sell in the U.S. The unions here have sucked the blood out of GM.

41 posted on 06/01/2005 7:55:27 PM PDT by doc30 (Democrats are to morals what and Etch-A-Sketch is to Art.)
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To: MikeinIraq

American car makers DONT GET IT. For the most part, their cars are NOT stylish looking. When I see 18-45 year olds driving, a strong majority of the time they are in a Honda, Toyota, Nissan or Hyundai. Rock solid cars with excellent style.

42 posted on 06/01/2005 7:59:34 PM PDT by xrp (Fox News Channel should rename itself the Missing Persons Network)
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To: Abogado
Yeah, the better half is drooling over the supercharged one due out mid 06.

Please tell me that this is a new engine rather than the Vibe engine with its supercharger slapped on.

One thing Detroit can't seem to get right are the 4-bangers.

Though I do like the SRT-4.

43 posted on 06/01/2005 8:25:25 PM PDT by VeniVidiVici (In God We Trust. All Others We Monitor.)
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To: MediaMole
they managed to actually make a car that looked duller than the Taurus

And that was not easy to accomplish let me tell you.
44 posted on 06/01/2005 8:38:46 PM PDT by festus (The constitution may be flawed but its a whole lot better than what we have now.)
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To: isthisnickcool
You have seen SRT-8 Chargers? The dealers locally don't seem to have a clue when they are coming in.

You're my man from Texas, but don't forget...Ol'California is still the CAR Country. We dictate more or less what's going on the car market.

That been said, yes i have driven a SRT8 Charger and let me tell you pilgrim the '55 or the 45 ain't got none to say.Nice wheels thou, but no can go...
you know why? Mercedes Benz and BMW have a speed limiter...not the SRT's

Just for the fun of it some magazine clocked the 300C SRT at over 175 MPH with more to go.

The SRT's will start to kick some major ass Cadillac style. Mark my words.

P.S. What am I talking about...the HEMI's are already kicking butt!

45 posted on 06/01/2005 8:46:51 PM PDT by danmar ("No person is so grand or wise or perfect as to be the master of another person." Karl Hess)
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To: F-117A
Sorry like charts better ... wonder which dip is the Mustang ,
46 posted on 06/01/2005 8:49:18 PM PDT by Flavius ("... we should reconnoitre assiduosly... " Vegetius)
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To: Flavius
: ( guess Mustang is a bust

Are you joking? You can't get Mustangs in most colors for the next year no matter who trys.
47 posted on 06/01/2005 8:50:57 PM PDT by Vision (When Hillary Says She's Going To Put The Military On Our Borders...She Becomes Our Next President)
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To: Flavius

"like charts better"??? Why, because you don't want to confuse yourself with facts.

It has repeatedly been pointed out to you that the article directly contradicts your contention that the Mustang is a bust, but you're more blind than a Detroit executive.

If the Mustand was a bust, Ford would be another buck or two lower.

48 posted on 06/01/2005 9:04:21 PM PDT by Cousin Eddie
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To: MediaMole

Frankly, I think that is nonsense. I've driven two 500's and it is definitely not a rental car. Light years superior to the Taurus. I would buy one myself if I were in the market.

49 posted on 06/01/2005 9:12:40 PM PDT by RichardW
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To: danmar

The problem I've had is that I've walked into Dodge and Chrysler dealerships and not only do they not know anything about the Charger/Magnum/300 SRT-8's they seem to know little or nothing about anything else they sell.

They don't know when these vehicles will be available. I want to order one but they can't seem to do that. If you are not buying something on their lot they just shrug their shoulders. At least the Cedes' BMW people know what they are selling and seem to like selling their product. I understand it's a different market but gee wiz.

50 posted on 06/01/2005 9:23:52 PM PDT by isthisnickcool (Get all the incumbents out of politics!)
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To: xrp
You gotta be kidding me.

Nissan does have some interesting styling lately, but Honda? Toyota?!?

They manufacture Genericars(TM).

They're mostly good and dependable (aside from the aforementioned transmission problems), but even most people who like the cars admit that they're boring.

I think DaimlerChrysler is on to something. They have a way to go yet on quality, but that's also to be expected with so many new models.

Now, if they can just figure out a way to get that new Mercedes-Benz V-6 diesel in some of the Chryslers and Dodges for a reasonable price...well, at least the 3.0 VM Motori CRD, anyhow.

51 posted on 06/01/2005 9:31:43 PM PDT by B Knotts (Viva il Papa!)
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To: B Knotts
Nissan does have some interesting styling lately, but Honda? Toyota?!?

It's personal taste of course. But cars that I've found the body styles very attractive on since I started driving (1990):

Honda Accord 86-89 series (especially the Coupes)

Honda Civic 92-95 (2dr)

Toyota Celica 90-93 and 95-99 (especially the convertibles)

Honda Accord 90-93

Honda Accord 94-97

Honda Accord 98-2002 (I own a 2002 Coupe, myself)

I think Toyota has become sloppy lately, I really don't like the current Celica. The current 4 door Honda Accord also doesn't look good at all. However, the 2dr does look pretty slick. If I were stupid, I'd trade in my 2002 Honda Accord Coupe and get a 2005 Honda Accord Coupe. However, my Accord is paid off already and I am looking forward to (hopefully) 7 years of no car payment! Yahoo!

52 posted on 06/01/2005 9:45:22 PM PDT by xrp (Fox News Channel should rename itself the Missing Persons Network)
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To: dmanLA
I've since been told that the engine in the Odyssey is too powerful for the transmission that they use. They do not have a unique transmission in that minivan.

Yes, they have the sludge buildup factor in their 4 cylinders, but there may be other problems as well. Their legendary reputation seems to be unjust. I must go now, but maybe we can get into a discussion in the next few days.

53 posted on 06/02/2005 7:31:54 PM PDT by Constitution1st (Never, never, never quit - Winston Churchill)
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