DETROIT -- Sales of new cars and trucks fell more than expected in January at the nation's two largest automakers, with market leader General Motors Corp. posting a 1.8 percent decline and rival Ford Motor Co. reporting a 9.8 percent drop.
While the big US automakers were struggling to explain their declines, Toyota Motor Corp. was reporting a 15.8 percent boost in US sales, and Daimler-Chrysler posted sales that were 9.4 percent higher.
GM said yesterday that it was disappointed with the results but maintained its outlook for the year. Ford, the nation's second-biggest automaker, said it remained optimistic a lineup of new cars would change its fortunes.
Analysts expected January sales results to be tempered by frigid weather in parts of the country, despite brisk business at the beginning of the month.
Both GM and Ford saw the biggest declines in their car sales, with GM's down 16.8 percent and car sales for the Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury brands falling 20.1 percent. Chrysler's also fell, declining 23.2 percent.
GM's truck sales were up 12.8 percent. Ford's truck sales fell 4.7 percent, despite the continuing success of its F-150 pickup. Chrysler sold 21.5 percent more trucks than in the previous January.
"January sales results were below expectations," said John Smith, GM's vice president for North American sales, service, and marketing. "While we had good results in some divisions . . . a new industry record in sport utility sales and strong truck sales overall, car sales and sales in certain regions were disappointing." Ford's F-series trucks posted record January sales of 61,979, up 9.6 percent.