Vehicle sales plunge in U.S.
DETROIT – General Motors Corp. soundly beat Toyota Motor Corp. in June to retain its traditional U.S. sales lead, but GM sales still dropped 18.2 percent during a dismal month for large automakers.
Toyota’s U.S. sales fell 21.4 percent, while Ford Motor Co. said its sales tumbled nearly 28 percent. Chrysler LLC took a huge hit for the month with sales down 35.9 percent.
GM’s shares bounced more than 2 percent higher in late trading Tuesday after sinking to their lowest level in more than a half century during Monday’s session.
The nation’s biggest automaker on Tuesday reported selling 262,329 vehicles for the month, compared with Toyota’s 193,234. Some industry analysts had expected Toyota to beat GM in the U.S. for the first time.
Toyota car sales fell 9.4 percent in June while its truck sales were off 38.8 percent.
GM’s car sales sank 21 percent in June, while its incentive-boosted truck sales were off 16 percent.
Toyota took the global sales lead from General Motors in the first quarter, capitalizing on growth in China and Europe as GM saw its North American sales drag down gains in other markets. GM barely won the global sales race with Toyota last year, but Toyota overtook it as the world’s top automaker as measured by global vehicle production in 2007.
To help boost sales, Chrysler said it would extend its $2.99 per gallon gasoline price guarantee through July 31. The guarantee lasts for three years, with Chrysler paying the difference between $2.99 and the pump price for 12,000 miles per year. It had been scheduled to expire July 7.
Even with the promotion, which had been in effect since early May, Chrysler’s car sales were off 48.5 percent, while truck sales were down 30.1 percent.
Honda Motor Co., with its car-heavy lineup, was the only major automaker to report a sales increase in June, a modest 1.1 percent. A 19.3 percent rise in car sales offset a 24 percent drop in trucks.
But Ford, still reliant on trucks and sport utility vehicles, saw its sales drop 27.9 percent.
Nissan Motor Co. also reported a bad month, with sales off 17.8 percent. The Japanese automaker saw truck sales plunge 36.1 percent and car sales fall 7.4 percent.