U.S. Sales Down Sharply in June for GM, Toyota and Chrysler

Ford reports smallest decline and reiterates plan to boost production.

General Motors posted a 34% drop in June sales Wednesday but said it had managed to increase its retail sales for the fourth consecutive month despite seeking bankruptcy protection. Total sales fell to 176,571 vehicles in June, but GM said its retail sales rose about 10% from May.

Sales for the first half were down 41% to 954,356 vehicles.

Toyota Motor posted a 35% drop in U.S. sales in June, capping a painful first half of 2009 in which sales fell 38% to 770,449 vehicles. The Japanese automaker said it saw an improvement in the second quarter, with sales 11.2% higher than the first quarter of 2009 at 410,777 vehicles.

The Toyota division posted June sales of 114,780 units, down 36% from last June, while the luxury Lexus division saw sales fall 20% to 16,874 vehicles. Total June sales were 131,654 vehicles.

Chrysler posted a 42% sales drop in its first month since emerging from bankruptcy protection, but the automaker said Wednesday it had managed to increase its share of the U.S. retail market.

Chrysler's sales were particularly hard-hit by a decision to shutter its plants during the bankruptcy process. That meant it could not produce vehicles for lower-margin fleet sales, which were down 95%.

Retail sales were down 16% to 66,324 vehicles in June while total sales were down 42% at 68,297 units. Sales for the first six months of the year were down 46% at 471,197 vehicles.

Chrysler forecast that its retail share would be 9%, which it said is more than a one percentage point improvement compared with June 2008.

Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it will again boost production after it managed to extend market share gains even as U.S. sales fell 11% in June amid a broad economic downturn.

While sales were down 11% at 155,195 vehicles, Ford said its share of the U.S. market rose three points from June of 2008. The automaker did not provide a precise number.

The sales decline was significantly narrower than in recent months and Ford said its losses were "believed to be the month's lowest decline among major auto manufacturers."

Sales for the year to date were down 33% at 775,498 vehicles.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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