General Motors expects to build about 34% fewer vehicles in North America in the second quarter than it did a year previously while Ford output will be off 38%.

Production has been set – for now – at 550,000 vehicles (195,000 cars and 355,000 trucks). GMNA built 834,000 vehicles (382,000 cars and 452,000 trucks) in Q2 2008.

The first-quarter production forecast is unchanged from last month’s projection of 380,000 vehicles (118,000 cars and 262,000 trucks), which is down about 57% year on year. GMNA built 885,000 vehicles (360,000 cars and 525,000 trucks) in first quarter 2008.

In February, it produced 135,000 vehicles (37,000 cars and 98,000 trucks), down 215,000 vehicles or 61% year on year.

Ford said inventories totalled 405,000 units at the end of last month, about 32% lower than a year ago and in line with the sales decline (26%) for the period.

The automaker plans second quarter production down 38% year on year to 425,000 vehicles (135,000 cars and 290,000 trucks) compared with 685,000 vehicles (237,000 cars and 448,000 trucks) a year ago.