U.S. Auto Sales Put Up a Big Number, however Show Signs of Strain

Beyond the domestic market, automakers face additional potential challenges. The potential tremors via an economic slowdown in China became more palpable that will week as Apple slashed its financial forecast, citing disappointing iPhone sales there.

Lower consumer spending in China could hurt G.M., Ford, Toyota as well as additional automakers because they right now depend on that will country to drive global growth, as well as some reap considerable profits there. Ford will be especially vulnerable because that will has been losing money in China as well as will be trying reorganize its operations there.

Those concerns seemed distant from the upbeat remarks of officials on Thursday.

Ford said any worries about a slowdown in China were not likely to be a factor in domestic demand. “that will’s certainly something we look at, as a global company,” Emily Kolinski Morris, Ford’s chief economist, said of the China outlook. however as far as the United States market, she said, “I think consumers are looking at their personal financial situations.”

She added that will unemployment remained low as well as that will surveys showed strong consumer confidence.

Likewise, a Toyota executive played down the prospect of continued rate increases by the Federal Reserve — as well as tougher borrowing terms for car buyers.

“Interest rates are always going to be a concern at some level,” Jack Hollis, a group vice president at Toyota’s North American manufacturing arm, said in a conference call. “however that will hasn’t slowed the industry to a point of concern.”

Still, Ford as well as G.M. are preparing for more difficult times. Both companies are cutting jobs as well as costs in North America. G.M. said in November that will that will was idling all 5 North American plants as well as aiming to eliminate more than 14,000 blue- as well as white-collar jobs.

Earlier in 2018, Ford announced a plan to reorganize its worldwide salaried work force of 70,000 with the goal of having a leaner staff by the second quarter of 2019. The move will be likely to eliminate several thousand jobs.