Toyota ends Ford's 75-year reign as No. 2 carmaker; GM sales also dip in '07

Toyota ends Ford's 75-year reign as No. 2 carmaker; GM sales also dip in '07
The Detroit News
Toyota Motor Corp. overtook Ford Motor Co. to become the No. 2 automaker by U.S. sales in 2007, using new products and relentless strategy to break Ford's 75-year lock on the position.
Ford sales were down 12 percent for the year; General Motors Corp. reported a 6 percent U.S. sales decline in 2007.
American Honda Motor Co. Inc. said sales were up 2.5 percent for the year.
Toyota sold 48,226 more cars and trucks than Ford, according to sales figures released today. Toyota's sales were up 3 percent for the year, buoyed by new products like the Toyota Tundra pickup, which saw sales jump 57 percent.
Ford corporate historian Bob Kreipke said it was the first time since 1931 that Ford wasn't second behind General Motors Corp.
Ford said U.S. vehicle sales in 2007 dipped 12 percent to 2.57 million units, despite strong demand for its crossover Ford Edge and redesigned Ford Focus.
The Dearborn-based automaker attributed much of the decline to discontinued products, and said its continued planned withdrawal from sales to daily rental fleets also contributed to the drop. Retail sales were down 10 percent for the year and fleet sales were off 18 percent, Ford said, reflecting a 32 percent decline in daily rental fleet sales.
Ford's December sales were off 9 percent compared to 2006, to 212,094 units.
Sales of the Ford Edge in its first full year were 130,125, topping expectations by 30 percent.
The automaker reiterated that it expects a tough start to 2008.
"We are restructuring our business to be profitable at lower demand and changed mix and accelerating the development of new products people want to buy," said Jim Farley, group vice president for marketing and communications.
GM said it sold 3.87 million units in the U.S. in 2007, down 6 percent from 2006. Its December sales were off 5 percent to 323,453 vehicles, though retail sales were up 1.5 percent.
The company reported strong demand for its new Chevrolet Malibu, 2008 Cadillac CTS and fuel-sippers like the Chevy Aveo.
Like other domestic car makers, GM is downsizing its sales to daily rental fleets and said that line of business was at its lowest level in nine years.
Honda said its U.S. business sold 1.55 million units in 2007, up 2.5 percent from 1.5 million in 2006. Its December sales were flat at 131,792.
Other automakers reporting December and 2007 U.S. results today include:
*Volkswagen AG: 230,572 units in 2007, down 1.9 percent from 2006. December deliveries were up 3 percent to 20,543 vehicles.
*Audi of America Inc.: 93,506 units in 2007, up 3.8 percent from 2006. December sales, however, dipped 28.5 percent to 8,504 units.
*Porsche Cars North America Inc. posted 2007 sales of 34,693 units, up a fraction of a percentage point over 2006. The company sold 2,891 vehicles in December.
*Volvo Cars of North America LLC said U.S. sales were down 8.4 percent in 2007 to 106,354 units. December sales were up 9.6 percent to 9,358 units.
*Mercedes-Benz USA posted a 2.2 percent gain for 2007, to 253,433 units. December sales were off 2.9 percent at 27,301 vehicles.
*BMW of North America said its BMW group, which includes the MINI brand, reported best-ever annual sales of 335,840 units in 2007, up 7.1 percent. December sales rose 1 percent to 33,761.
*Mazda North American Operations said 2007 was its best sales year since 1994. It recorded a 10.2 percent increase to 296,110 vehicles. Mazda December sales were 24,933, up 25 percent over the same month in 2006.
See also: Toyota passes Ford in U.S. sales in 2007 /
GM, Ford, Toyota December Sales Fall; Honda's Rise 601087&sid=aIJmd8ahB2Oo&refer=home
Automakers end a tough '07 with lower sales 08010315
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It is amazing that GM is not bankrupt yet.
$39 billion loss in one quarter!!
Wow, that must hurt!
Standard and Poor's credit analyst Gregg Lemos-Stein added that Toyota overtook Ford and GM years ago in the most important measures: Profitability and cash flow. Toyota's profit for the July-September quarter rose to 450.9 billion yen ($4 billion), up 11 percent from the same period the previous year. By contrast, GM posted a record $39 billion loss in the same quarter, mostly due to unused tax credits, while Ford posted a loss of $380 million.
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