Toyota again posted a double-digit monthly U.S. sales increase in December, crushing the competition as U.S. automakers' struggles continued. It recorded a y-o-y sales increase of 12% to 228,322 cars and trucks sold, versus a decline of 13% each for GM and Ford, which sold 341,327 and 233,621 autos respectively. DaimlerChrysler's sales fell 1% to 218,530. Honda's sales were off by 0.8% at 131,778 and Nissan posted a 0.6% gain to 91,776. GM sold its lowest number of autos annually since 1970 and had its seventh consecutive year of lower sales. Ford posted its sixth straight year of declining sales and lowest total since '91. Toyota meanwhile, achieved its 11th straight year of sales growth, boosting its U.S. market share to 15.4% in '06 against 13.3% in '05. Bloomberg reports Asian auto companies added 3% market share overall to 39.4%, while the U.S. big-3 dropped by 3.2% to 53.7% combined. According to Autodata Corp., U.S. December sales were 3.6% lower y-o-y at 1.43m units and '06 sales of 16.56m units was a 2.6% y-o-y decline and the lowest since '98. On an annualized basis GM's sales declined 8.7% to 4.07m autos, Ford's fell 7.9% to 2.92m, Toyota's grew 13% to 2.54m, DaimlerChrysler's fell 5.5% to 2.39m, Honda's gained 3.2% to 1.51m (its 13th consecutive annual rise) and Nissan's dropped 5.3% to 1.02m. Separately, the WSJ reports Ford and Chrysler are increasing incentives to drive sales at the start of '07.
• Sources: Bloomberg, WSJ
• Related commentary: GM Management Remains Stable While Other Auto Industry Heads Roll, Tata Motors Sales Recover in November, December, Ford's Internal Projections: Toyota Will Be #2 Within Months, Toyota: A Lesser Known Stock?
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Toyota (TM), DaimlerChrysler (DCX), General Motors (GM), Ford (F), Honda (HMC), Nissan (OTC:NSANY)
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