General Motors and Ford Motor Company, respectively the planet’s largest and second largest automakers, suffered a dire May, both companies recording a 12% year-on-year slump in sales of all vehicles including trucks.

The picture was grimmer yet for car sales: at GM they slid by 12.4% to 183,566 units, while Ford recorded a 14% slippage including stateside sales of its European brands Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo.

However, the data reflects the ending of a prolonged period of incentives and price discounting by both manufacturers and is seen by the markets as an atypical result. The fall in sales may well be compensated by more robust margins.

Despite the sales plummet, GM raised its earnings estimate for fiscal Q2, citing continued cost-cutting and the strong sales outlook for the remainder of 2002.

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff