Top executives at General Motors and Ford have delivered upbeat outlooks for the US auto market and their profits, saying US consumer demand remains strong, according to a Reuters report.

GM chief financial officer (CFO) Paul Jacobson reportedly said vehicle sales in March were “looking really strong” after a strong February as GM incentives came down.

“All in all, a really, really good start to the year and we feel good about where we’re trending,” Jacobson said. GM had assumed a 2-2.5% price reduction but this year had not seen any falls. “Demand is actually hanging in pretty strong,” Jacobson said.

Meanwhile, Ford CFO John Lawler reaffirmed the company’s outlook for annual core profit of between US$10bn and $12bn. “Things are looking pretty good” in the US market, and prices are holding up better than expected, he said.

However, demand for electric vehicles was “much lower than the industry expected,” Lawler said. Ford has cut production plans for its EV and would “match capacity with demand,” he said, according to Reuters.

Lawler said Ford had a “skunk works” team working on a new, low cost EV architecture which could underpin sedans, SUVs and trucks, providing the interior space of a mid size Explorer SUV in a vehicle the size of the smaller Escape on the outside.

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The low cost EV programme, to compete with BYD and Tesla, was essential to reversing losses in Ford’s EV unit expected at $5bn this year, he said.

It came as electric vehicle sales lost momentum in China due to a price war, Reuters noted.

Ford’s EV business must eventually “stand on its own” and turn a profit to win more long term investment, Lawler reportedly said.

GM also expects to achieve its annualised production rate target of between 200,000 and 300,000 EVs by the end of the year, the report said.

GM had also had to navigate expenses and headwinds related to its Cruise self driving unit. “We still see a lot of promise in that business,” Jacobson said.

Ford’s Lawler said the automaker would rely on demand for its hybrid models “as an important part of that bridge over the next five years”.

Reuters also noted Stellantis has said earlier this month it would lay off about 400 US salaried workers to cut costs, boost efficiency and ramp up its EV production plans.