General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. posted declines in January auto sales amid what is expected to be a broader cooling in demand following brisk sales in the prior month that is creating a glut on dealer lots.
GM, the No. 1 U.S. auto maker, sold 195,909 vehicles in the month, compared with 203,745 a year ago, for a sales decline of 3.8%. Retail sales declined 4.9%.
Ford's sales, meanwhile, edged 0.7% lower to 171,186. The Detroit auto maker reported its retail sales climbed 6% while fleet sales declined 13%. Ford said its popular F-series pick up trucks -- up 13% -- saw their best sales start for the year since 2004.
GM said its Jan. 31 inventory was equivalent to more than 100 days' of supply, reflecting a broader spike in dealer stock for the industry. High inventories have traditionally led to discounting and layoffs.
GM's inventory, for instance, could come down in coming months as the auto maker lays off thousands at car plants in the U.S. Demand for sedans and compact cars has slumped amid low gas prices, which typically boost buyers' appetite for trucks and SUVs.
GM sold 195,909 vehicles in the month, compared with 203,745 a year ago. Retail sales declined 4.9%.
While January typically is a slower month for auto demand, leading to the buildup of supply for warmer months, RBC Capital Markets estimates the industry now has 90 days' worth of supply, up from 62 days' in December and 77 days' in January 2015.