Market Overview

December Auto Sales Roundup: Ford, GM Up on Sales Beat

December appears to have been a solid month for several automakers, but not all of them. American automakers had a solid month for the most part, with Chrysler leading the pack.

Chrysler (OTC: FIATY)

December was a good month for Chrysler. The company reported December sales up 10 percent from last year, compared to an estimate of up 7.6 percent, making it the 33rd consecutive month of year-over-year gains. The Dodge, FIAT and Ram Truck brands all posted big gains, fueling the overall success of the company during the month.

General Motors (NYSE: GM)

Dubbed “Government Motors” by many after Uncle Sam bought a large stake in the company in 2008, GM (NYSE: GM) has bounced back to a respectable level. The Detroit auto giant reported its highest December sales in five years, up 4.9 percent from last year to nearly 246,000 vehicles sold -- analysts were looking for a gain of 2.1 percent.

The gain was largely fueled by a 14 percent increase in passenger car sales from a year ago.

The positive sales figures are the latest in a series of good news for the company. In December, the company announced plans to repurchase 200 million shares of GM common stock back from the US Department of Treasury.

Also, GM stock is up over 31 percent over the past year.

Ford (NYSE: F)

Ford's total U.S. sales rose 1.9 percent in December. Gains were largely due to an increase in sales of cars and SUVs, up five and seven percent, respectively. Trucks were up two percent and, given the fact that the F-series has been America's top selling vehicle for 31 consecutive years, that's nothing to be ashamed of.

Light vehicle sales came in up 1.6 percent, which beat analyst expectations of an increase of 1.2 percent.

Honda (NYSE: HMC)

Honda's December U.S. vehicle sales were up significantly, but still missed analyst expectations. The Japanese automaker reported a gain of nearly 27 percent for the Honda Division, and over 22 percent for the Acura Division year-over-year. The company's stock dropped on Thursday, however, because analysts were looking for a sales increase of 32 percent.

Toyota (NYSE: TM)

Toyota reported an increase of nine percent for its U.S. December sales. Shares slumped somewhat, as analysts had been anticipating an increase of 10 percent. Sales were fueled by Toyota's compact staple the Corolla.

Hyundai (OTC: HYMLF)

Korean automaker Hyundai reported a 17 percent climb in December sales. The company released its results via Twitter.

Nissan (OTC: NSANY)

Unlike its Japanese counterparts, December was an unsuccessful month for Nissan (OTC: NSANY). The company posted a 1.6 percent decline in sales. Analysts had been expecting a 2.7 percent gain.

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