Another disappointing sales month at General Motors and Ford has led the nation’s two largest automakers to cut planned vehicle production in the fourth quarter, which could hurt profits, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

AP said GM and Ford both reported sales declines for August, contributing to an industry-wide 5% drop compared with August 2003. Percentages are adjusted and based on the daily sales rate – there were 25 selling days last month, two fewer than in August 2003.

According to the Associated Press, both companies plan to make fewer vehicles in the fourth quarter than they did a year ago. GM on Wednesday set its initial fourth-quarter production forecast at 1.29 million vehicles, 6.8% less than a year ago, while Ford said it plans to build 830,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter, down from 900,000 in the year-ago period.

GM reportedly said overall business was down 7% from a record-setting August 2003 – car sales were off 2% while truck sales fell 10%. Ford also had a sub-par month, saying overall sales of its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands fell 5.9%, AP added. Ford’s car sales were off 22% while truck sales grew 1%, AP said.

The losses occurred despite heavy spending on consumer incentives at both GM and Ford, the report noted.

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(Members only): August sales disappoint