Sales for General Motors (GM) in October fell 1.7%, less than analysts had forecast, but the report reinforces the fact that demand for new vehicles in the U.S. has cooled in recent months.
Analysts said though that the market and vehicle pricing remain strong. Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com each had forecast a 6% drop in industry sales for the month. The industry had two fewer retail selling days in October compared to the same month a year ago.
"On the surface, it might look like a slow month for sales, but in fact the industry's performance was much stronger than the raw numbers suggest," said Edmunds.com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell in a statement.
GM said sales of its Buick brand were higher, while Cadillac, GMC and Chevrolet declined during October.
"GM's October performance reflects the strength of our retail business and our operating discipline. We gained profitable retail share in October while spending less than the industry average on incentives and commanding the industry's best average transaction prices for any full-line automaker," said Kurt McNeil, GM's vice president of U.S. sales operations, in a prepared statement. "We will continue our disciplined approach and focus on retail in a strong industry."
GM has said it is cutting back on lower-profit fleet sales to rental operators, as it emphasizes retail sales to individuals, which generate more profit for the No. 1 U.S. automaker and market leader.
GM shares rose 0.7% on Tuesday.
Ford (F) , meanwhile, said it would announce sales statistics later this week as a fire in an electrical substation at the automaker's headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., on Monday led to the evacuation of the main building and the Ford Credit building. Mike Moran, a spokesman, said the shutdown of computers and the transfer of data were the direct cause of the delay.
Ford employees returned to their offices on Tuesday. No one was injured in the fire, Moran said.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) said monthly sales fell 10.3%, with all brands down except the automaker's Ram truck division. The stock rose 0.3%.
Nissan (NSANY) saw sales fall 2.2% in October, though sales of crossovers, trucks and SUVs were up 12.7%, setting a record for October.
More manufacturers were expected to post sales numbers later in the day.