The Car Geek: It’s Up for GM, Down for Ford, Chrysler

The Car Geek

Monday, March 05, 2007

It’s Up for GM, Down for Ford, Chrysler

Alrighty, after much hand-wringing and hitting of panic buttons, here are the numbers.

Things seem to be looking up for GM, at least as the automaker GM reports a 3.4 percent total sales increase (compared with February 2006), despite an expected decline in U.S. industry sales. The sales gain was reportedly due to an 11 percent retail sales increase. Retail and fleet sales by GM dealers in the United States totaled 311,763 vehicles, compared with sales of 301,545 in February 2006. Fleet sales were down 18 percent due to a planned 25 percent reduction in daily rental sales.

According to Mark LaNeve, vice president, GM North American Sales, Service and Marketing, "Our pickup, SUV and crossover business was terrific across the board. Our customers are telling us that we have the winning formula - the best products, industry-leading fuel economy and the best value."

Retail truck sales were up as well climbing 16 percent (compared with February 2006) and total truck sales were up 7 percent. Leading the retail sales gains were full-size pickups, up 36 percent compared with February 2006, thanks to positive showings by the Chevrolet Avalanche, up 110 percent and Silverado, up 34 percent. GMC Sierra retail sales volume was up 27 percent compared with last February.

The increase in retail sales of the Chevrolet Aveo has also helped push GM's economy car segment retail volume up 17 percent compared with February 2006. We’re also looking at a 45 percent retail increase in Pontiac G6 and a 65 percent increase in Chevrolet Impala retail sales, compared with the same month a year ago, boosting GM's mid-car segment retail volume up 25 percent.

On bleaker news, Ford's February U.S. sales declined 13 percent compared with a year ago. The company's February sales totaled 211,150, compared with 244,021 a year ago. Lower sales to daily rental companies (down 16,000 units) accounted for about half of the decline. Sales to individual retail customers were down 8 percent compared with a year ago.

Such sad news for Ford President of Americas, Mark Fields, quoted as saying that, “Our objective is to deliver more of the products that people want and, in doing so, stabilize retail share. We're encouraged by the results we have achieved over the past several months. Our new products and our initiatives to strengthen our brands are starting to pay off."

But everything seems to be still going downhill as Ford brand sales were down 15.2 percent: Mercury was down 13.2 percent, Lincoln was up 10.8 percent, Jaguar was down 28.3 percent, Volvo was virtually even at plus 0.7 percent, and Land Rover fell 10 percent.

Another automaker suffering in the sidelines is the Chrysler Group which reported sales for February 2007 of 174,506 units; down 8 percent compared to February 2006 with 190,367 units.

However, Chrysler executives are still optimistic about things, saying their new product offerings, are “a sign of things to come.” Looking at the numbers they look to be right: the Dodge Avenger posted sales of 5,205 units; Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited continued to post strong sales in February with 9,240 units (a rise of 63 percent over February 2006 sales of 5,673 units); Jeep Compass increased 3 percent over the previous month with 4,071 units (compared to 3,965 units in January 2007); the Dodge Caliber finished February with sales of 9,900 units, an increase of 14 percent (compared to last month with 8,672 units).

Meanwhile, you can still get quality Eibach springs at your favorite online auto parts store.