GM Sales Up, Ford & Toyota Down

All major automakers except for General Motors Corp. saw their U.S. sales drop in January to start what industry analysts have predicted will be the worst auto sales year in the United States in more than a decade, according to The Associated Press.

GM reported an increase of 2.6 percent in January when compared with the same month last year. GM sold 250,926 light vehicles in January, despite cutting low-profit sales to rental fleets by 6 percent the same month to a total of 26 percent of sales. GM’s car sales rose 0.2 percent, while truck sales were up 4.3 percent.

But Toyota Motor Corp., which had seen strong growth last year, said its January light vehicle sales dropped 2.3 percent, to 171,849 in January from 175,850 in January 2006, putting it in the No. 2 sales spot.

At Ford Motor Co., sales declined 4 percent compared with a weak performance a year ago. The company said it sold 159,355 light vehicles for the month as it continued a strategy to wean itself from low-profit rental car sales. Sales to daily rental fleets were down 5 percent in January, according to George Pipas, a Ford U.S. sales analyst.

According to The AP, Chrysler LLC saw its U.S. sales drop 12.1 percent as the company tried to cut fleet sales. Chrysler's car sales were up more than 25 percent year over year, but truck sales dropped 23.5 percent.

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