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Car companies see improvement

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Ford and GM post solid sales numbers.

| November 16, 2010

Stronger sales in North America and abroad helped General Motors report a $2 billion third-quarter profit, while Ford Motor Co. says its October U.S. sales rose 19.2 percent, led by big increases in trucks and small cars.

General Motors, the largest U.S. automaker by sales, said revenue was up 35.4 percent from a year ago, to $34.1 billion,  

The Detroit car company recorded earnings per share of $1.20 after adjusting for a 3-to-1 stock split ahead of its IPO.

Last week, GM announced that it sold 183,392 units domestically in October, a 13% increase from the same month in 2009.

GM North America generated earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of $2.1 billion, a 33.5 percent improvement from the prior quarter. Market share in the U.S. was down to 17.7 pecent from 18.7 percent even though the company is selling more cars after having discontinued four brands.

GM is poised for a a return to the public market, after being propped up by government bailout loans and pushed into bankruptcy in 2009. The terms of the automaker's IPO filed with the SEC call for the sale of 365 million shares at a price between $26 and $29 that will raise approximately $10 billion and reduce the U.S. Treasury's stake in the company to 40 percent, from 61 percent.

At Ford, sales of the redesigned Edge crossover were up 24 percent, while Ford Escape sales rose 17 percent.

Ford says sales of the F-Series pickup rose 24 percent, thanks in part to a month-long truck promotion.

The Fusion midsize sedan had its best October ever. Sales for the car rose 29 percent over the same month last year.

Analysts are expecting this October to be the strongest in three years, as consumer confidence increased and new models drew buyers to showrooms.

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