GM's Sales Surge, Ford's Drop Again

Chrysler manages a small increase, thanks to its popular Dodge Ram.
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Updated from 2:05 p.m.

Ford Motor

(F) - Get Report

says the U.S economy is growing stronger. Unfortunately, the No. 2 automaker can't say that about its sales.

Ford's sales fell again in November, while those at rivals

GM

(GM) - Get Report

and

Chrysler

(DCX)

rose.

Ford's overall vehicle sales fell 2.4% to 255,533 vehicles in November, below the 3% to 6% range forecast by analysts.

Car sales fell 9.7% to 79,613 units, from 88,201 a year ago, but truck sales rose 1.4% to 175,920 vehicles, from 173,504.

GM's overall sales soared 22% to 363,181, from 309,263 a year ago, beating analysts forecasts. Car sales rose to 149,032, a 12.8% increase from 137,401 last November. Truck sales climbed 29.6%, from 171,862 to 214,149.

The Chevrolet, GMC, Pontiac and Saab brands all registered sales increases of 30% or more, while the Tahoe and Trailblazer models had the greatest impact on truck sales.

And Chrysler continued to ram home the point about its popular truck, the Dodge Ram. Sales rose 15% to 33,941 units in November, driving an overall 3% gain in sales to 157,212 vehicles. Analysts' forecasts called for a decrease of 1% to 3%.

Total truck sales at Chrysler rose 5% from 125,973 a year ago to 126,807. Car sales fell 4% to 30,405.

Year to date, Ford's overall sales were 3.2 million, down almost 4%. Car sales were down 11.4%, but truck sales were 0.6% higher vs. a year ago.

Against that backdrop, Ford cut fourth-quarter North American production plans by 20,000 cars to 900,000, citing weakness in auto rentals. The company kept first-quarter 2004 production at 1.03 million vehicles, the same as a year ago.

Recently, Ford shares were down 13 cents, or 1%, to $12.99.

So far this year, GM's sales are down 1.7% to 4,308,503, from 4,385,043 in 2003. Year to date, the company has sold 1,791,188 cars, down 5.6% from 1,897,071 in the first 11 months of 2002. Truck sales are up 1.2% to 2,517,315, from 2,487,972.

GM also raised its fourth-quarter production forecast for North America by 10,000 to 1.37 million vehicles, but it's still down from 1.43 million units in the same period last year.

GM's shares rose 18 cents, or 0.4%, to $43.31

Chrysler's year-to-date car sales are down 13%. Overall sales are off 4% to 2,032,952. Truck sales are down 1%.

DaimlerChrysler share slipped 5 cents, or 0.1%, to $38.66.