Tuesday, May 03, 2005


On Sales Figures And Stock-Market Rationality


The world's largest automakers Tuesday reported mixed sales for April, with General Motors and Ford reporting declines but DaimlerChrysler posting a 9 percent rise.

Shares of GM (up $0.51 to $27.67) and Ford (up $0.23 to $9.45) each rallied in afternoon trading while Daimler (down $0.12 to $39.23) shares edged lower on the New York Stock Exchange.

Someone want to explain how GM sales can drop 7.4% and Ford's can drop 1.5% compared to one year ago and their stock prices go up, while DCX reports sales 9% higher (mostly on the strength of Chrysler, although M-B was slight up as well) and their stock drops? Pardon me if I'm a bit confused.

More on the April sale numbers here. This tidbit of info on Ford is interesting:

At Ford, the Mustang continued its strong pace with sales of 19,559 -- the highest April sales for the car since 1980, Ford said.

"Right now, the only thing keeping Mustang at bay is lack of inventory," said Steve Lyons, Ford's vice president for North American marketing, sales and service. He estimated Ford dealers had fewer than 13,000 Mustangs in stock at the end of April.

Ford also reported strong demand for its new sedans, the Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego, and for the Ford Freestyle crossover utility. Combined sales for the three vehicles exceeded 18,000 for the first time, the company said.

That's amazing - the Mustang outselling the combination of two mainstream sedans and a crossover SUV. That's just insane; for as much as I love powerful RWD cars, and for as much as I love the new Mustang despite my general dislike for Blue Oval products, I'd never guess that Ford would be on-pace to sell nearly a quarter-million of them per year.

Another shocker, this one a bit more ominous:

Toyota, meanwhile, reported its best-ever sales month, with overall vehicle sales rising 21.3 percent from April 2004. Car sales were up 36 percent, while truck sales rose 4.8 percent.

Digest those numbers for a moment.

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