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Sales of GM's Cobalt decrease for month



Published: Wed, October 4, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Toyota trounced U.S. automakers in September sales.

STAFF/WIRE REPORTS

Sales of the Chevrolet Cobalt dropped 13 percent last month as General Motors Corp. continued to suffer slower sales.

GM sold 15,215 Cobalts in the United States in September, compared with 17,500 in the same month last year.

Sales are up overall this year for the Cobalt, which is made at GM's Lordstown complex. GM sold 178,558 Cobalts through September, which was up 7.4 percent over last year's pace.

The Lordstown complex also recently began making the Pontiac G5, a sister car to the Cobalt. GM sold 1,722 G5s last month.

GM's top-selling car in September was the Chevrolet Impala with 21,863 sales.

Overall, GM's sales fell 3.1 percent last month, but the nation's largest automaker put a positive spin on the decline, attributing it to a reduction in low-margin sales to rental companies. The company's car sales fell 6.4 percent, while trucks, including pickups and sport utility vehicles, were down 0.7 percent. The numbers include the European Saab brand.

DaimlerChrysler said its overall decrease of 2.3 percent stemmed mostly from U.S. subsidiary Chrysler Group, where sales fell 3.8 percent. Sales of Mercedes-Benz vehicles rose 13.2 percent.

At Chrysler, car sales plunged 26.6 percent, while trucks rose 4.3 percent.

Ford's increase of 4.7 percent over the same month last year was fueled largely by car sales, which rose 26.2 percent, while its truck sales fell 5.5 percent. The figures are for all Ford brands, including Jaguar, Volvo and Land Rover.

Increased sales

Toyota reported a much better month than the domestic automakers, posting a 25 percent gain. It said car sales rose 18.4 percent, while truck sales soared 34.9 percent.

"While crossovers, hybrids and small cars continue to show strength, our SUVs and full-size trucks also posted solid gains," Jim Lentz, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Sales, said in a statement. "It's the breadth of our lineup that enables us to satisfy today's buyers."

Honda Motor Co. reported a sales decrease of 4.1 percent, with cars falling 13 percent. But, like Toyota, it had good news in the truck segment, with sales rising 11.6 percent.

GM said its September sales were in line with expectations and predicted good results going forward, thanks to more fuel-efficient vehicles.

"Having products like the Chevrolet Cobalt, Malibu and newly redesigned 2007 Aveo in such high demand in the market place is gratifying," Mark LaNeve, vice president for sales, service and marketing, said in a statement. "We will go even further for the 2007 model year by increasing the number of fuel-sipping vehicle models in the '30 mpg or Over Club' by 9 vehicles, or more than 60 percent, to 23 models."




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