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January Sales Follow December's Trend

February 5, 2008

January followed December’s sales trend, with the majority of automakers reporting sales decreases. BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Nissan and Toyota sales were down this month, while Audi and GM saw increases.

Audi’s sales increase from last January (up 0.3 percent) is a trend that the company expects to continue in the coming months.

“We look forward to the continued momentum with the Audi brand in the United States in 2008,” said Johan de Nysschen, executive vice president, Audi of America, in a company press release.

BMW Group’s sales decreased by 22 percent, something officials said they expected.

“Sales were impacted by lower than normal inventory levels due to a very strong retail performance in December and high demand for all-wheel drive models,” reported a company press release. “The BMW Group expects that its retail sales in the U.S. will be slightly ahead of 2007 at the end of this year.”

Chrysler sales were down 12 percent, but the company plans on offering more products that appeal to consumers.

“As customers become even more thoughtful about the vehicles they buy, Chrysler is committed to delivering products that meet their needs — and exceed their expectations,” Jim Press, vice chairman and president, said in a press release. “We are ready to offer consumers the best value in the American car market, with vehicles that meet the highest safety and quality standards. These products, combined with the best-in-industry Lifetime Powertrain Warranty, will continue to bring more customers to our showrooms.”

Total Ford Motor Company sales were down 4 percent, which the automaker attributed to the current state of the economy.

“It’s not going to get any easier — at least for awhile,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s group vice president, Marketing and Communications, in a company release. “Recent monetary actions and the proposed stimulus package may help the economy later this year, but we’re not pinning our hopes on that. Our plan is based on restructuring our business to be profitable at lower demand and changed mix while also accelerating the development of new products people want to buy.”

GM saw a 2.1 percent increase year-over-year.

"January's performance strongly indicates that, along with our great market position in trucks and crossovers, GM is back in the car business," said Mark LaNeve, vice president, GM North American Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing, in a press release. "Our new launch vehicles, including the award-winning Chevrolet Malibu and Cadillac CTS had a sensational month, as did the Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5 and G6, Saturn AURA, Buick Lacrosse and Cadillac STS. Overall, we've had year-over-year retail sales increases in four of the past five months."

Despite a 2.3 percent compared to January 2007, Honda’s smaller vehicles are still performing well.

"We're seeing real strength in our compact and subcompact vehicles," said Dick Colliver, executive vice president of sales for American Honda. "Honda products like the Civic, CR-V and Fit are proving to be solid performers in these turbulent economic times."

Nissan North America sales were down 7.3 percent compared to the year before.

Toyota remained hopeful despite its 2.3 percent decrease in sales.

"On the retail front, consumers are sitting in the catbird's seat, with falling interest rates and a competitive market giving rise to showroom values," said Jim Lentz, TMS president. "On the product front, the migration toward passenger cars dovetails nicely with February's launch of the all-new Corolla and Matrix."

The January 2008 sales reports for the above mentioned companies are as follows:

Audi:

Audi of America Inc. said its record-setting sales pace continues, with a total of 6,418 vehicles sold in January. This was a 0.3-percent increase from last year’s figures.

Audi Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) sales are also continuing their record-setting trend. Compared with last year’s January figures, CPO sales came to 2,592 units, an increase of 39.4 percent.

BMW:

The BMW Group (BMW and MINI combined) reported January U.S. vehicle sales of 16,935, down 22.4 percent from the 21,811 vehicles sold in the same month of 2007.

BMW brand sales were down 26.7 percent, to 14,475 vehicles compared to 19,761 vehicles sold during January 2007.

Monthly sales of BMW brand automobiles decreased 28.8 percent in January, to 11,053 vs. 15,528 in 2007.

Sales of BMW Sports Activity Vehicles were down 19.2 percent for the month, to 3,422 vehicles compared to the 4,233 reported last January.

MINI USA reported a 20 percent increase in January sales, with 2,460 cars sold compared to 2,050 cars sold in the same period a year ago.

Chrysler:

Chrysler LLC’s total U.S. sales of 137,392 units were down 12 percent. Total fleet sales were down 18 percent in January. All sales figures are reported as unadjusted.

The company opened the new year with strong sales performance by the Dodge Avenger, Dodge Viper, Dodge Caliber and Dodge Charger. All four vehicles contributed to a year-over-year sales increase of 42 percent (28,457 units) for Dodge brand car sales. This is compared with 20,020 units in January 2007.

Based on strong consumer demand, sales of the redesigned Jeep Liberty mid-size sport-utility vehicle increased 17 percent to 8,331 units in January 2008. Sales in January 2007 were 7,141 units.

Ford:

Demand for Ford’s crossovers remained strong in January. Sales for the Ford Edge were 95 percent higher than a year ago and the Lincoln MKX was up 78 percent.

Retail demand for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars also was strong in January, especially for the new Focus. Sales for the Focus were up 44 percent compared with a year ago, with retail sales up 33 percent.

Ford, Lincoln and Mercury sales totaled 148,355, down 4 percent compared with a year ago.

Total Ford Motor Company sales, including Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volvo, were 159,914, down 4 percent.

GM:

GM dealers in the United States delivered 252,565 vehicles in January, an increase of 2.1 percent compared with the same month last year. The company continued its efforts to focus on improved retail sales, showing an increase of more than 11 percent.

Very strong retail sales of 186,187 vehicles were driven by a more than 31-percent surge in retail car sales. Total truck sales of 148,191 were up more than 3 percent compared with a year ago.

Total sales of GM's mid-utility crossovers were up 134 percent to more than 12,600 vehicles compared to a year ago. Small crossover utilities pushed up GM's total sales in that segment by 51 percent, while retail volume rose 38 percent compared with last year.

Chevrolet retail sales were up 13 percent, Pontiac was up 17 percent, Buick was up 13 percent, GMC was up 15 percent, Cadillac was up 11 percent and Saturn retail sales were up 5 percent compared with a year ago.

Honda:

American Honda Motor Co. Inc. posted January total vehicle sales of 98,511, a decline of 2.3 percent compared to January 2007 results.

Honda Division posted January sales of 87,343, a decline of 0.5 percent compared to January 2007.

Honda total car sales of 49,642 increased by 7.1 percent for the month.

The Acura Division posted a sales volume of 11,168, a decrease of 14.2 percent compared to January 2007.

Nissan:

Nissan North America Inc. (NNA) reported sales of 76,605 units in January, down 7.3 percent from the prior year. Nissan Division sales decreased 7.8 percent over last year. Infiniti Division sales declined 3.6 percent versus the prior year.

Nissan-brand vehicles saw sales of 67,961 units, a 7.8 percent decrease on a daily sales rate basis compared with last year’s 73,680 units sold.

Infiniti sales declined by 3.6 percent on a daily sales rate basis, with 8,644 units sold. During the same period last year, the automaker sold 8,964 units.

Combined sales for Nissan and Infiniti of 76,605 marked a decrease of 7.3 percent compared with last January’s sales of 82,644 units.

Toyota:

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) U.S.A. Inc. reported January sales of 171,849 vehicles, a decrease of 2.3 percent from last January.

The Toyota Division posted January sales of 151,550, a decrease of 1.4 percent from last January. The Lexus Division reported January sales of 20,299 units, a decrease of 8.2 percent from the year-ago month.

TMS posted January sales of 18,652 hybrid vehicles, up 30 percent over last January. Toyota Division posted sales of 17,272 hybrids, up 34 percent over January 2007. Lexus Division posted sales of 1,380 hybrids.

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