U.S. auto industry sales have dropped far below expectations for April, a Ford Motor executive said on Friday, as rival General Motors rolled out an incentive program intended to boost crucial month-end sales.
"This month is terrible," Ford chief sales analyst George Pipas said in an interview. "We are not even close to where we expected to be in April."
Pipas said industry volume appeared to be down 10% to date before seasonal adjustment, but he expected Ford's U.S. retail share to hold steady at around 13%.
Pipas said the spillover from weaker housing to other areas of the economy and rising gas prices appear to be affecting consumers but added that many of these same factors were also present in March.
"I have a hard time explaining why April is so weak," he said.
Ford and other automakers will report April U.S. sales on May 1.
For the first three months of the year, U.S. industry-wide auto sales were down 1.2%.