Ford Sales Up, GM’s Down in January

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) said Wednesday that its U.S. sales for the last month rose 7% to 136,710 vehicles, with its Focus marque soaring 60% to 14,400 units, the best showing for January in nine years. Other standout brands included its F-Series trucks, which gained 8%. “January started off with solid sales versus year-ago levels,” said Ken Czubay, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service. “Ford saw the same solid month, with smaller vehicles in higher demand. Escape continued its record-setting run, and Focus set the pace for car sales in California, Texas and the Southeast.”

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General Motors Co.’s (NYSE:GM) U.S. auto sales fell 6.1% in January as the auto maker reported lower truck and crossover sales, though Chevrolet strength helped boost passenger car sales.

The results beat expectations from car-shopping website Edmunds.com, which had projected GM sales to slip 8.9% on the year and slip 30% from the prior month. Broadly, Edmunds projects U.S. new auto sales to rise 5.8% in January from a year earlier and to slide 30% from December’s total.

GM reported it sold 167,962 vehicles in January, down from 178,896 a year earlier and 28% below December’s total. The company said total sales for GM passenger cars were up 3% from a year ago, led by Chevrolet passenger car sales. Truck sales fell 6% and crossover sales decreased 18%.

“Chevrolet drove our performance once again and sales of our fuel-efficient new cars were especially good,” said Vice President of U.S. Sales Operations Don Johnson. “The strength that the economy and the auto industry showed in the fourth quarter carried into January, so we believe the year is off to a good start.”

Chevrolet sales slid 1.2%, while GMC sales were down 9.7%. Buick sales fell 23% as Cadillac sales slipped 29%. Overall, retail sales decreased 15%.

Month-end dealer inventory in the U.S. stood at 619,455 units, up 6.2% from the prior month.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Morris at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com