General Motors reported a 4% gain in quarterly global sales, setting a Q3 record and fending off Toyota's bid to unseat it as the world's biggest auto manufacturer. GM sold 2.39 million vehicles during the quarter, its third quarterly gain this year. The results were helped by international sales, which were stronger than domestic. U.S. sales fell 6.1% to 1.21 million vehicles, a continuation of an eight-year stretch of declining domestic revenues. "As we assess...conditions in the U.S., fourth quarter and heading into 2008, it appears that growth will remain subdued," said GM's chief sales analyst Paul Ballew. J.D. Power & Associates forecasts that total U.S. auto sales could fall to 16.2 million this year, their lowest since 1998. Countering the U.S. decline in Q3 was a 22% advance in the Latin America, Africa and Middle East region and a 29% increase in Brazil. The Asia-Pacific region was up 16%, and the company is expecting to make its millionth sale in China by the end of 2007. "In Latin America and China, GM has not really faced significant competition from Toyota," said Sean McAlinden of the Center for Automotive Research. "You're going to see a jump up in competition from GM in those regions, and they could really get out in front of Toyota on global sales." Toyota, which beat GM for the top spot in global sales in H1, will release worldwide sales figures on Monday. GM shares closed up 3% at $39.89 Thursday.
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Stocks to watch: GM. Competitors: F, TM, DAI. ETFs: PRFG, RPV
Earnings call transcript: General Motors Q2 2007