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GM, Ford, Chrysler Sales Trail Estimates as U.S. Consumers Shun Purchases

• Bloomberg.com
 
Potential customers are staying away from showrooms amid signs the pace of the economic recovery is slowing. A jobless rate that remains at a 27-year high helped push the New York- based Conference Board’s measure of consumer sentiment to the lowest level in five months last week. ...................... General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. reported U.S. sales in July that trailed analysts’ estimates as consumers concerned about the economy limited large purchases. Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. topped expectations. GM’s sales rose 1.5 percent, including an adjustment for the number of selling days in July. On that basis, the largest U.S. automaker was expected to report a 10 percent increase, the average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Ford’s adjusted sales fell 0.7 percent, trailing analysts’ estimates for a 10 percent gain. Its total sales climbed 3.1 percent. Potential customers are staying away from showrooms amid signs the pace of the economic recovery is slowing. A jobless rate that remains at a 27-year high helped push the New York- based Conference Board’s measure of consumer sentiment to the lowest level in five months last week. “We are certainly not seeing any good news from the jobs market and that’s scaring people,” Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Automotive in Lexington, Massachusetts, said today in a telephone interview. Industrywide sales rose to an 11.98 million vehicle annual rate, according to a preliminary estimate by Autodata Corp. of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. Deliveries were expected to reach 11.9 million vehicles, the average estimate of eight analysts. Autodata said it will recalculate the annual pace after the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis releases updated seasonal adjustments. GM Deliveries GM’s deliveries climbed to 199,692 from 189,443 a year earlier, the Detroit-based company said today in a statement. Total sales of Chevrolet vehicles gained 12 percent from a year earlier to 139,916 vehicles and GMC deliveries increased 27 percent to 27,798, the company said. Cadillac and Buick more than doubled. The results show GM’s turnaround efforts may be slowing after last year’s bankruptcy. Sales of GM’s Hummer, Pontiac, Saab and Saturn brands, which were closed or sold, fell to 260 vehicles from 29,365 in July of last year. Industrywide deliveries dropped to an 11.1 million pace in June, feeding concerns that the auto recovery was stalling. Discounts and incentives, while higher than last year, were reduced 1.3 percent from June to an average of $2,831 per vehicle, according to TrueCar.com in Santa Monica, California. Ford’s total deliveries rose to 170,411 from 165,279 a year earlier, the Dearborn, Michigan-based company said today in a statement. Sales of Ford-brand vehicles rose 8.1 percent, while Lincoln deliveries dropped 16 percent and Mercury declined 31 percent. Market Reaction Ford shares fell 25 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $12.91 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have gained 29 percent this year. GM’s 8.375 percent notes due in July 2033 fell 0.625 cents, or 1.8 percent, to 34.938 cents on the dollar in New York, according to Trace, the bond-price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, and Nissan were the only major automakers to exceed analysts’ estimates in the month. Toyota said U.S. sales dropped 3.2 percent to 169,224 vehicles. Adjusted for the difference in selling days, deliveries fell 6.8 percent, less than four analysts’ average estimate for a 7.4 percent decline. Nissan Sales Nissan’s total sales gained 15 percent to 82,337 vehicles. Deliveries on an adjusted basis climbed 10 percent, beating analysts’ average estimate for a 6.8 percent increase. “It seems the news has turned more negative on the economy, but our floor traffic was really good in July,” said Al Castignetti, vice president of the company’s U.S. sales unit. “The people who were coming in to our dealerships were buyers.” Honda Motor Co.’s U.S. deliveries fell 5.6 percent on an adjusted basis, trailing four analysts’ average estimate for a 0.8 gain. Total sales dropped 2 percent to 112,437 vehicles. Chrysler Group LLC’s sales on an adjusted basis gained 1.1 percent, trailing analysts’ estimates for a 2.2 percent increase. Total U.S. sales at the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based automaker rose 5 percent to 93,313 vehicles, led by a 19 percent gain for the Jeep brand. Dodge sales were little changed, while the Ram line gained 11 percent and Chrysler dropped 11 percent, the company said in a statement. Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s largest automaker, sold 54,106 vehicles in the U.S. in July, up 19 percent from a year ago, the Seoul-based company’s local unit said in a statement. Kia Motors Corp., Hyundai’s affiliate, said sales rose 21 percent.

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