Bloomberg is reporting Chrysler U.S. Sales Fall 48% as Toyota, Ford Trail Estimates.

Chrysler LLC’s U.S. sales plunged 48 percent in April as the automaker slid toward bankruptcy, helping drag Toyota Motor Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. to declines that exceeded analysts’ estimates.

General Motors Corp.’s 34 percent drop and Honda Motor Co.’s 25 percent decrease were smaller than projections. Ford slumped 32 percent, Toyota tumbled 42 percent and Nissan decreased 38 percent. Chrysler also fared worse than estimates.

GM projected a annual U.S. sales rate of 9.6 million vehicles, less than the average estimate of 9.9 million vehicles among 7 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg before today’s results. The March rate also was 9.9 million, after a 9.1 million rate in February that was the lowest since 1981. Sales totaled 13.2 million in 2008, and averaged 16.8 million this decade through 2007.

Automakers’ spending on incentives averaged $3,031 for each vehicle, a 29 percent increase from a year earlier, according to automotive researcher Edmunds.com of Santa Monica, California. Still, that was down from the record of $3,165 in March.

Ford Overtakes Toyota

The Wall Street Journal is reporting Auto Sales Remain in a Rut; Ford Overtakes Toyota.

Ford Motor Co. reported a 32% drop in U.S. vehicle sales for April, but the healthiest of Detroit’s auto makers outsold Toyota Motor Co. for the first time in at least a year.

The Japanese auto maker’s U.S. sales fell 42%. General Motors Corp. said its sales fell 33% last month, however the auto maker noted that shipments were up significantly from March.

“We see that stabilization, along with the firming up of our fleet business and improvement in Silverado and Sierra sales, as an encouraging sign,” said Mark LaNeve, GM’s Nirth American sales chief.

GM sold 172,150 vehicles in the U.S. in April, down from 257,638 a year earlier. Its car sales fell 41%, while sales of light trucks – which include sport utility vehicles, vans and pickups – fell 27%.

Ford said in April it sold 133,979 light vehicles in the U.S., down from 195,665 a year earlier, but the company said it is gaining market share.

Ford, Lincoln and Mercury car sales dropped 31% despite record sales of its Fusion sedan. Sport-utility vehicles continued to tumble, falling 61% in April. Sales of pickups and vans dropped 36%.

Toyota sold 126,540 vehicles in the U.S., as both car and light-truck sales fell more than 40%.

Also Friday, Honda Motor Co. said its U.S. sales fell 25% to 101,029. Nissan Motor Co. reported a 38% drop to 47,190 vehicles, while Daimler AG’s sales fell 31% to 15,910. Other auto makers will release their monthly results later in the day.

30-year lows

Reuters is reporting Auto sales plunge to near 30-year lows.

U.S. auto sales in April were on the road to plunging to their lowest levels in nearly 30 years according to sales reports released on Friday, the day after Chrysler LLC filed for bankruptcy.

Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp posted the largest sales drop at 42 percent among major automakers in the U.S. market, followed by Nissan Motor Co Ltd at 38 percent.

Sales at U.S. automaker Ford Motor Co slid almost 32 percent last month, while sales General Motors Corp, which like Chrysler has been operating under federal supervision, fell 34 percent.

Honda Motor Co’s sales were off 25 percent.

U.S. auto sales typically account for as much as one-fifth of all retail sales in the country and represent one of the first indicators of consumer demand every month. Both GM and Chrysler have announced plant shutdowns to slash bloated vehicle inventories.

Inventory Overhang

With a huge glut of inventory, GM set its second-quarter production forecast at 390,000 vehicles, down 53% from a year ago. GM has little choice but shut down its production lines for up to 11 weeks this summer. See Idled GM factories to affect more than workers for more details.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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