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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 November, 2004, 12:24 GMT
US car sales boost for Japanese
GM cars lined up a showroom lot
GM saw softer sales than expected in October
Japanese carmakers - including Toyota, Nissan and Honda - increased their market share in the US last month, latest sales figures have shown.

Sales at Chrysler, the US arm of DaimlerChrylser, also rose, but General Motors (GM) and Ford both lost ground.

GM has now said it will reduce its fourth-quarter US production targets, by 10,000 to 1.27 million vehicles.

"Toyota and Nissan, they continue to hum," said Jim Sourges of consultants Capgemini.

There was more good news for the Japanese car industry as Suzuki Motor Corporation, the largest minicar maker in Japan, reported a 14.5% rise in first-half net profits to 28.7bn yen.

Suzuki's figures were helped by strong sales in overseas markets such as India and Indonesia.

Demand stifled

Our sales were a little softer (in October) than we anticipated
Paul Ballew, General Motors

The drop in sales at US motor giants Ford and GM has been put down by some analysts to the fact that there were fewer incentives for customers to buy their products.

Various "sweeteners" have been a key element recently in generating sales.

Both GM and Ford offered interest-free loans for terms of up to six years during the last week of September to boost sales during the month.

However, it may have stifled demand during the first part of October after the deals ended.

"Our sales were a little softer (in October) than we anticipated," Paul Ballew, GM's chief of sales and industry analysis, told analysts and reporters.

Sales for GM, the world's largest automaker, fell 5% in October to 338,826 vehicles.

However its Cadillac and sports utility ranges provided positive news, with both seeing sales up on a year ago.

Meanwhile Ford, the second-biggest US car company, reported its fifth straight month of weaker results with a 5.3% drop to 249,484 vehicles.

Japanese sales climb

Toyota saw its US sales rise by 13% in October to 170,815, putting it third in the sales stakes for the month.

Nissan's American sales soared 27.3% to 86,599 vehicles, while Honda put on a 10.2% increase 110,502 vehicles.

Another firm doing well in the US last month was German luxury carmaker BMW, which saw sales of its BMW brand cars up by 15%. Mini brand car sales rose about 3%.

DaimlerChrysler's said its US sales rose 2% to 188,492 last month, but its Mercedes brand posted a 5% drop in sales.

Volkswagen reported an 8% drop in US sales, as did its luxury Audi brand.

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