GM and Japanese Brands Sell More Cars; Ford, Chrysler and VW Fewer

05 June 2003

The merry, merry month of May in the USA was anything but for Ford Motor Company, DaimlerChrysler and Volkswagen. Whereas General Motors, Honda, Nissan and Toyota were dancing gleefully around the maypole.

Increased auto sales were recorded by GM (+4.1% to 432,204 units), Toyota (+6.1% to 186,764), Honda (+18%) and Nissan (+ 6.1%).

In reverse were Ford (-4.3% to 327,131 vehicles), DaimlerChrysler (-3% to 236,578), while the largest European exporter to the US, Volkswagen, saw sales sag 16% to 27,941 units.

Collectively, the market share of Detroit’s Big Three fell to 60.3% in May from 61.2% a year ago, while the rising sun rose higher yet for the Japanese trio, in aggregate taking 24.6% of the US. market compared with 22.4% a year ago.

• Meantime, yet more gloom from DaimlerChrysler’s North American unit which disclosed Tuesday it will post a €1 billion ($1.17bn; £0.72bn) operating loss for the second quarter.

This underscores the massive cost of offering ever more generous incentives to US customers. The German-American automaker said it will revalue unsold autos clogging dealers’ lots to reflect the probability of having to offer higher discounts to shift inventory, resulting in less revenue per vehicle.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff