Fleet Sales a Slight Help to U.S. Automakers in January

Higher sales to rental-car and commercial fleets enabled General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler to post modest overall sales increases for January 2006 compared with January 2005.

Higher sales to rental-car and commercial fleets enabled General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler to post modest overall sales increases for January 2006 compared with January 2005. Retail sales to consumers for all three were down for the month, however, allowing sales gains at Toyota, Honda and Hyundai to boost these companies' share of the U.S. auto market. While GM's overall sales for the month grew 6%, and Ford's 1.9%, both companies saw their retail sales fall: GM by 7% and Ford by 6%. The Chrysler division of DaimlerChrysler posted an overall increase of 5%, but did not specify its percentage of drop in retail sales. By comparison, Toyota reported a 14% sales increase for the month, Honda 20.7%, and Korea's Hyundai, 16.1%. GM's overall market share fell a half point to 25.4%, and Ford's slipped to 16.6%.
Speaking to the New York Times, analysts noted that recent job cuts announced by GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler address only part of the problem these automakers face. "Half the job is cost-cutting," said one. "The new model lineup is the other part of it."

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