GM sales slip in an otherwise strong January

Overall sales are expected to increase by 7% for the month, continuing solid momentum from 2011.

By Kim Peterson Feb 1, 2012 1:28PM
Image: Car salesman showing couple new silver hatchback in car showroom © Juice Images/Cultura/Getty ImagesUpdated 3:50 p.m. ET

Automakers have big sales expectations for 2012. And so far, it looks like they're going to match those predictions with no problem.

Judging by January's sales numbers, the industry appears poised to build on what turned out to be a very solid 2011. Most automakers saw sales gains from a year earlier, and this time, they didn't have to slash prices and offer other incentives to make those sales.

Chrysler continued an impressive streak of blowing sales out of the water. The automaker said U.S. sales rose 44% in January to 101,149 vehicles. It was Chrysler's best January sales in four years.

Ford (F) saw its sales rise 7.4%, and sales of the compact Ford Focus were up 60%. But General Motors' (GM) results fell 6% from a year ago.

Overall, the seasonally adjusted annual rate for light vehicles came in at 14.2 million, according to industry tracking firm Autodata. That's higher than the 13.6 million seen in December and the 12.7 million seen a year earlier. Total industry unit deliveries rose 11.4% from January 2011.

Analysts predicted industry sales would increase by 7% for January, kicking off what is expected to be a second straight year of strong results. The Big Three had a remarkable 2011, with sales up 26% for Chrysler, 14% for GM and 11% for Ford.

GM sales slumped in January because it didn't have the big discounts and flashy new models that fueled the prior period. GM cut back on the incentives, and that -- coupled with safety issues surrounding the Chevrolet Volt -- hurt sales.

But GM still surprised to the upside here, since analysts were expecting sales to fall nearly 9%. The following video notes how Ford is actually the disappointment, since its gain didn't quite meet analyst expectations.

Post continues below.
GM sold 167,962 vehicles, largely led by a 30% spike in sales of fuel-efficient small cars, including the new Chevrolet Sonic. But truck sales fell 6% and crossover sales were down 18%. Investors took the news in stride, however, and GM's share price rose by 1.5% Wednesday afternoon to $24.39.

Ford shares were down less than 1% Wednesday to $12.36.

Toyota (TM) continued its recovery from last year's devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami, reporting a sales increase of 7.5% to 124,540 units. The Camry and Camry Hybrid led passenger sales, with a combined total of 28,295 units sold.

Toyota's ADR shares rose more than 2% Wednesday afternoon to $75.16.

Here's what the individual automakers reported for January:

Total U.S. sales: 167,962
Change from a year ago: 6% drop
Of note: Retail deliveries declined 15%.

Total U.S. sales: 136,710
Change from a year ago: 7% gain
Of note: Blockbuster Focus sales made up 30% of overall sales growth.

Total U.S. sales: 124,540
Change from a year ago: 8% gain
Of note: Toyota division sales rose 9% while Lexus division sales fell 5%.

Total U.S. sales: 101,149
Change from a year ago: 44% gain
Of note: January was the 22nd straight month of year-over-year sales gains.

Honda (HMC)
Total U.S. sales: 83,009
Change from a year ago: 9% gain
Of note: Honda CR-V sales rose 16% to 18,960.

Total U.S. sales: 79,313
Change from a year ago: 10% gain
Of note: January deliveries of the all-electric Nissan Leaf totaled 676.

Total U.S. sales: 42,694
Change from a year ago: 15% gain
Of note: Sonata was the top-selling car, with nearly 15,000 units sold.

Total U.S. sales: 35,517
Change from a year ago: 28% gain
Of note: Record January sales.

Volkswagen (VLKAY)
Total U.S. sales: 27,209
Change from a year ago: 48% gain
Of note: The Jetta sedan is still on top, with 9,564 sold.

Related reading:
Feb 1, 2012 2:25PM


Take another look at Chrysler.  I just bought a 2012 V-6 Durango after considering all other SUV's.  GM's body-on-frame line-up [Tahoe,Yukon] are really nice, though $10,000 to $18,000 over priced.  Ford is getting stupid high money for their Explorer.  The Durango was $33,300 with AWD, 7 passenger seating, heated leather seats 1st & 2nd row, sun roof, GPS, power lift gate, trailer hitch, power lumbar support, 28Gb hard drive, rear air, big on the inside, 20" wheels, 23 MPG, 290 HP, fold flat seats in the rear cargo area, and all of the usual features.  Mazda, GM, Ford, Nissan,Toyota, are all over price, under featured or both, comparitively.


Feb 1, 2012 4:43PM

Ford and Chrylser make good trucks and SUVs. I quit buying Japanese as their quality has sunk. Germans still rock

Feb 1, 2012 7:05PM

That's great news, now maybe Chrysler can start paying back the bonholders, creditors that Chrysler / UAW / Obamaruptcy fleeced .......................along with the 6.4B still owed the taxpayers.

President Obama told a Chrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio, today: “Chrysler has repaid every dime and more of what it owes the American taxpayer from the investment we made during my watch.” That is just not true. Here is the math.

Chrysler received the following loans from the federal government:
January 2009: Chrysler receives $4 billion loan from TARP
January 2009: Chrysler financial receives $1.5 billion from the Treasury Department
May 2009: Chrysler receives a $1.9 billion debtor in possession loan from the Treasury Department
June 2009: Chrysler receives a $6.6 billion loan from the Treasury Department
Total loaned to Chrysler: $14 billion

Chrysler made the following payments to the federal government:
May 2010: Chrysler pays the Treasury Department $1.9 billion to settle their January 2009 loan.
May 2011: Chrysler pays the Treasury Department $5.1 billion as partial settlement for June 2009 loan.
June 2011: Chrysler pays the Treasury Department $560 million to settle the rest of the June 2009 loan.
Total paid back by Chrysler: $7.56 billion

Total loss to taxpayers ($14 billion – $7.56 billion) = $6.44 billion.

Feb 1, 2012 4:54PM
Don't worry folks, the chevy VOLT (Edsel) will come to the rescue! LOL!
Feb 1, 2012 6:46PM
Wait till this summer when GAS  cost 4.00 to 5.00  a gallon the GM  Volt  sales will take off ...
Feb 1, 2012 2:00PM

Crapsler sold 101,149 vehicles of which 100,000 were fleet sales and the other 1,149 sales were to stupid females that bought garbage Jeeps.


Feb 1, 2012 3:46PM
The UAW is its' own worst enemy, already, as if there were some collective amnesia about the close call of bankruptcy, is doing its' best to put that complete disregard for the corporation front and center with the newest union contracts.

Assembly line workers were NEVER to be high income employees and every time that a newer and higher waged contract is forced least a few more of those generational, and fully learnable in 1 day, jobs becomes in the cross hairs for robot replacement! That is what happened to the only true skilled jobs in auto making already (welding, painting and machining).

This country has no need for more UNSKILLED LABORERS, we need people who use their brains not someone who has to be told to "put that screw here, and this bolt there"....................monkeys can easily be trained to do those things, but monkeys get sick so we will make a robot to do it 24/7/365!

GM is the wooly mammoth that can't figure out that it is already extinct!

Feb 1, 2012 3:35PM
I will never buy another Government Motors producr again.  I was a loyal GM owner for decades...  They make crap,   I think given the quality and price of their products they  will be back in bankruptcy within 7 years...  The taxpayers threw good money after bad.   After seeing how well the non-union cars are assembled, I will never even consider a GM car as long as the UAW and their awful workmanship exist....
Feb 1, 2012 3:56PM

I, too, will never buy another Government Motors vehicle.   Obama acts like Chavez picking winners and losers and taking over the private sector.  He still owns 25% of GM and I hope they go bankrupt again. 

Feb 1, 2012 2:24PM

should have let them go belly up the first time

lousy cars and a lousy company

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

124 rated 1
266 rated 2
452 rated 3
702 rated 4
671 rated 5
604 rated 6
640 rated 7
495 rated 8
267 rated 9
158 rated 10

Top Picks




Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.