Petr Cech could be willing to make the switch between Chelsea and Arsenal because he wants to break the Premier League record for keeping the most clean sheets, Carlo Cudicini has told talkSPORT.The Czech Republic goalkeeper, 32, has been usurped at Stamford Bridge by Belgian sensation Thibaut Courtois this season and has only started four games as a consequence.And with Cech keen to beat David James’ achievement of racking up 170 clean sheets – he currently has 162 – his former team-mate Cudicini believes a move to the Gunners could suit all parties.“Now we are four months into the season the decision the manager [Jose Mourinho] has taken to play Thibaut Courtois has [continued] and he’s doing all right,” said the Italian, speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.“[Petr Cech] did a fantastic job for Chelsea for ten years and he didn’t put a foot wrong, now he finds himself on the bench and obviously he’s not happy.“Is he going to move? I don’t know. I’m pretty sure he would love to stay in England. I think he has a record to beat [for the most Premier League clean sheets].“There was speculation to Arsenal but I’m not sure. There are a lot of things to take into consideration.”
DETROIT – Chevrolet was the best-selling brand in the U.S. market in 2005, outpacing Ford for the first time in 19 years, General Motors Corp. said Wednesday. But that was where the good news ended for GM and other U.S. automakers, who continued to lose ground to foreign rivals. Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. and South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co. all reported sales increases of 9 percent or more for the year. Toyota, whose U.S. sales were up 10 percent over 2004, said its Camry sedan was the best-selling car in the United States for the fourth year in a row, while its Lexus nameplate was the best-selling luxury brand. The Big Three U.S. automakers’ sales were down 2 percent overall, while Asian brands’ sales climbed 7 percent and European brands fell 3 percent. U.S. automakers’ U.S. market share fell to an unprecedented low of 56.9 percent, from 61.7 percent just three years ago, according to Autodata Corp. Asian brands’ U.S. market share rose to 36.5 percent, up from 34.6 percent. The total number of vehicles sold in the United States was nearly 17 million, about the same as the year before. Jim Press, president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc., said hybrid sales helped propel Toyota’s growth. Sales of the hybrid Toyota Prius doubled in 2005. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson “Heightened interest in fuel costs and the environment and dependence on foreign oil really stimulated that interest in hybrids,” Press said. GM’s sales fell 4 percent for the year, led by a 7 percent decline in car sales and a 2 percent decline in sales of trucks and sport utility vehicles. Although Chevrolet sales slipped slightly from last year to 2.6 million, they outpaced Ford by about 21,000 vehicles thanks to strong pickup sales and enthusiasm for GM’s new HHR crossover. Paul Ballew, GM’s executive director of market and industry analysis, said the year-end totals were below the company’s expectations. But he said the win for Chevrolet gives the world’s largest automaker an important boost. GM lost nearly $4 billion in the first nine months of 2005 as it struggled with high costs and falling U.S. market share. “It does confirm our ability to produce industry-leading vehicles,” Ballew said. Ford Motor Co. said its sales dropped 4 percent in 2005 as consumer demand for trucks and sport utility vehicles fell in the face of high gas prices. DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group, meanwhile, said its sales rose 5 percent for the year thanks to such hot-selling models as the Chrysler 300 sedan and the Town & Country minivan, which both saw sales increase more than 25 percent for the year. Honda Motor Co. also reported an increase of 5 percent over 2004 sales. Honda’s car sales were flat but the automaker’s truck and SUV sales rose nearly 14 percent, largely on the strength of the Honda Pilot small SUV and Honda’s new Ridgeline pickup. Honda said it was the company’s 12th consecutive year of U.S. sales increases. It was a tumultuous year for automakers, who enjoyed near-record sales thanks to employee-pricing discounts over the summer but watched large SUV sales plummet when gas prices spiked after Hurricane Katrina. Ford’s U.S. sales analysis manager George Pipas predicted that SUV sales will stabilize in the coming year as long as gas prices remain lower than $3 a gallon. “This is still a big segment, this is still a popular segment that meets the needs of many consumers,” he said. “The wild card is gas prices.” But Pipas also said there is a definite consumer trend away from SUVs in favor of cars and crossovers, which are car-based SUVs. Ford, the nation’s second-biggest automaker after GM, said car sales rose 5 percent for its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands, but truck and SUV sales fell 8 percent. Pipas said it was the first year since 1981 that cars gained market share against trucks. Ford also said sales of its crossover vehicles rose 28 percent. The company predicted that crossover sales will continue to outpace all other categories through the end of the decade. U.S. automakers also reported disappointing results for December despite a new round of holiday discounts. GM’s December sales were down 10 percent, Ford fell 8.7 percent and Chrysler was down 5 percent as payback from strong summer sales continued. Ballew said last year’s strong December made it a particularly difficult comparison. Asian automakers fared better in December, in part because they didn’t offer employee discounts over the summer. Toyota’s December sales were up 8 percent, while Hyundai’s were up nearly 16 percent as customers snapped up the 2006 Sonata. Honda’s December sales fell 3 percent while Nissan’s were off 1 percent. Automakers expressed optimism about 2006. Ballew said the economy is expanding just as new vehicles are hitting the pipeline. “It’s not the perfect backdrop because energy prices are higher than people anticipated, but the overall backdrop for this industry is not that poor,” Ballew said. Sales figures were adjusted for the number of sales days. There were 307 sales days in 2005 and 308 sales days in 2004. GM shares rose 51 cents to close at $19.41 on the New York Stock Exchange while Ford shares rose 18 cents to end at $8.01 and DaimlerChrysler’s U.S. shares lost 24 cents, to $53.51. Toyota’s U.S. shares fell 26 cents to close at $106.59 on the NYSE. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! 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