Several automakers report fall in US sales in November

(Reuters) - Several carmakers reported a drop in new car sales in the United States in November, hurt by rising car prices and higher interest rates as well as further declines in sales of sedans.

Ford Motor Co, Honda Motor Co Ltd and Toyota Motor Corp all reported declines in sales, likely pulling down overall sales for the month.

Top U.S. carmaker General Motors Co, however, posted a roughly 1 percent sales increase for the month, according to a source familiar with the company, with fleet sales offsetting a slight decline in sales to consumers.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
F FORD MOTOR CO. 12.29 +0.23 +1.91%
GM GENERAL MOTORS CO. 35.98 +0.29 +0.81%
FCAU n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.

Ford, the No.2 U.S. auto maker, said its sales fell about 6.9 percent to 196,303 vehicles in November due to weaker sales of its Focus sedans and Mustang sports cars.

Automakers including Ford have reduced production of traditional passenger cars due to slumping sales, while gradually moving to larger SUVs and trucks, which tend to be more profitable.

Ford last month reshuffled workers at several of its plants to meet rising demand for pickup trucks and large SUVs.

Overall U.S. car sales dipped 2 percent last year from a record high of 17.55 million in 2016 and are expected to decline further in 2018.

Industry watchers have said that interest in replacing older cars is finally waning after nearly a decade of robust new car sales while rising interest rates and trade tariffs have pushed up the costs of buying.

There was progress in talks with China this weekend, but President Donald Trump has still threatened to impose a broad 25 percent tax on cars imported into the United States, potentially inflating prices further.

Toyota sales, which rose 1.4 percent in October, fell about 0.6 percent to 190,423 units last month, due to decreased demand for its Prius and Camry sedans, the company said.

Honda said its sales fell 9.5 percent to 120,534 vehicles, more than doubling the pace of decline as it was hurt by lower volumes on passenger cars like its Civic.

Ford's smaller rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, said U.S. sales rose 16 percent on higher demand for its Jeep and Ram sport utility vehicles.

(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)