General Motors Co. posted a quarterly sales gain, and Ford Motor Co. sales fell less than expected. But both are having trouble shrugging off concerns that the U.S. auto market is taking a turn for the worse.
Shares of the two companies fell Wednesday along with those of Italian-American manufacturer Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. Their quarterly U.S. results looked less dire than the big percentage drops that other carmakers reported Tuesday for September, in part due to fewer selling days in the month than a year ago.
GM’s third-quarter deliveries rose 6.3%, a smaller increase than analysts expected, while Fiat Chrysler’s 0.1% slip and Ford’s 5.1% decline beat projections. Those figures weren’t enough to dispel the narrative set by rivals a day earlier, when Nissan Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. trotted out ugly numbers. Those were timed close to when a measure of manufacturing sector activity flashed the worst reading since the end of the last recession.
GM shares fell 4% as of 10:50 a.m. Wednesday in New York, while Ford pared a plunge of as much as 5.2%. Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. stock dropped as much as 1.6%.
— Keith Naughton, Gabrielle Coppola and David Welch (Bloomberg)