Toyota Bests GM in Global First-Quarter Sales
General Motors and Toyota continued their fight for sales bragging rights last quarter and Toyota came out the victor for the quarter, selling 159,000 vehicles more than GM worldwide. Most of the gain was attributed to developing markets, where both companies have a very strong presence. Both companies have experienced sales losses recently in the declining, but still largest, U.S. market.
Toyota sent 2.41 million vehicles across various curbs in various parts of the world last quarter, a gain of 2.7% from 1st quarter 2007. General Motors sales fell 0.6% to 2.25 million units on a global basis.
This is a repeat of 2007, when Toyota beat GM in the first quarter. However, Toyota lost to GM in annual sales in 2007 by approximately 3100 units.
“We are clearly in a more challenging market,” said Mike DiGiovanni, GM’s sales analyst, on a conference call earlier today. DiGiovanni stated that the automaker’s gains outside of North America weren’t enough to overcome first-quarter losses of 11% in the U.S., which now accounts for 36 percent of GM’s sales, a drop from 40 percent a year earlier.
While GM was losing 11% in the quarter compared to 2007 in the U.S., Toyota lost only 5.5%, and that was enough to pull them ahead for the quarter.
Many auto industry analysts are predicting that 2008 will be a very tough year for auto manufacturers in the United States. The most pessimistic of those analysts are forecasting the worst year for sales since 1993.
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