GM and Chrysler lead as US auto sales rise

Friday, 4 February 2011 00:04 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: General Motors Co and Chrysler posted US sales gains of more than 20 per cent for January as the two automakers that had faced collapse in 2009 shot past the industry's still-struggling leader, Toyota Motor Corp.

Overall US auto sales rose 17 per cent, a sign that the consumer-led recovery remained on track in the United States as well as in Europe and Asia, where car makers also reported a strong start to 2011 on Tuesday.

Strong truck sales drove GM to a 22 per cent US sales gain, pushing its market share higher for the first time in six months.

Chrysler, which is laying the groundwork for an initial public offering of stock this year, saw sales rise 23 per cent.

By contrast, Toyota only kept pace with the market at 17 per cent, a disappointing result that showed the pressure on the top global automaker a year after a punishing series of safety recalls that tarnished its reputation.

The industry-wide sales gain for January came despite a series of winter storms that some analysts had suggested could push planned purchases into February or beyond.

Even though January sales were solid, analysts cautioned that higher oil prices could crimp demand or send consumers scrambling toward the smaller vehicles that remain less profitable for automakers, especially the Detroit Three.