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Sales for the month of October 2008 were... ahem... not good. The auto industry in the U.S. has found a way to slide further into oblivion with only a few bright spots from Audi and MINI, the latter of which enjoyed monster sales last month we suspect on account of greater production capacity this year versus October 2007.
While all the major players were down, General Motors, the largest of them all, was hit the hardest. Its sales volume for October 2008 fell 45% compared to last year. It went from selling an average of 11,923 cars per day in October 2007 to just 6,318 last month. Each of its brands were down, with HUMMER taking the Biggest Loser crown (yet again). The real story, however, is how close behind the other brands were, with Cadillac falling 55.1%, Buick 46.3%, Chevy 40.3%, GMC 52.5%, Pontiac 48.2% and Saturn 54.6%.

What can account for GM's entire brand portfolio taking such a hit? GMAC, the financing arm of General Motors that's majority owned by Cerberus. Halfway through the month GMAC decreed it would only lend money only to buyers with a credit score above 700, which effectively wiped out in-house financing for the majority of GM customers. While dealers could still work with banks to secure financing (and were encouraged to do so), it appears the damage wrought by GMAC could not be undone.

BY THE NUMBERS - October 2008
Brand Vol. % Change Total Sales 10/08 Total Sales 10/07 DSR % Change Daily Avg. 10/08 Daily Avg. 10/07
-21.56% 10,108 12,886 -24.46% 374 496
Audi 0.3% 7,443 7,420 -3.4% 276 285
BMW -13.9% 20,203 23,451 -17% 748 902
Buick -46.3% 7,642 14,231 -48.3% 283 547
Cadillac -55.1% 9,541 21,267 -56.8% 353 818
Chevrolet -40.3% 107,313 179,825 -42.5% 3,975 6,916
Chrysler -50.8% 19,903 40,440 -52.6% 737 1,555
Dodge -27% 53,267 73,020 -29.75% 1,973 2,808
Ford -27.9% 114,969 159,361 -30.5% 4,258 6,129
GMC -52.5% 21,109 44,456 -54.3% 782 1,710
Honda -25.66% 75,756 101,913 -28.41% 2,806 3,920
HUMMER -64.6% 1,368 3,864 -66% 51 149
Hyundai -31.1% 20,820 30,232 -33.7% 771 1,162
Infiniti -28.5% 7,112 9,954 -31.2% 263 383
Jeep -32.9% 21,360 31,856 -35.4% 791 1,225
Kia -38.5% 15,483 25,185 -40.8% 573 969
Lexus -35.2% 16,283 25,119 -37.6% 603 966
Lincoln -27.7% 7,399 10,229 -30.3% 274 393
Mazda -25.9% 16,442 22,201 -28.7% 609 854
Mercedes-Benz -34.3% 14,996 22,820 -36.7% 555 878
Mercury -47.4% 6,753 12,844 -49.4% 250 494
MINI 56.4% 5,272 3,370 50.6% 195 130
Mitsubishi -19.3% 7,486 9,280 -22.3% 277 357
Nissan -33.5% 49,833 74,992 -36% 1,846 2,884
Pontiac -48.2% 13,054 25,182 -50% 483 969
Porsche -50.1% 1,427 2,862 -52% 53 110
Saab -13.2% 1,975 2,275 -16.4% 73 88
Saturn -54.6% 8,583 18,908 -56.3% 318 727
Subaru NA
Suzuki -46.7% 3,482 6,536 -48.7% 129 251
Toyota -21.3% 135,818 172,473 -24.2% 5,030 6,634
Volkswagen -7.9% 15,889 17,260 -11.4% 588 664
Volvo -52.1% 3,717 7,761 -53.9% 138 299
BMW Group -5%
Chrysler LLC -34.9% 94,530 145,316 -37.4% 3,501 5,589
FoMoCo -30.2% 132,838 190,195 -32.7% 4,920 7,315
General Motors -45% 170,585 310,008 -47% 6,318 11,923
Honda Amer. -25.2%
Nissan NA -33% 56,945 84,947 -35.4% 2,109 3,267
Toyota Mo Co -23%
152,101 197,592 -25.9% 5,633 7,600
October 2008 had 27 selling days versus 26 selling days for October 2007

Update: Dodge numbers fixed.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      You say "damage wrought" by GMAC, but in reality it's just a return to smarter lending practices. If that means less sales, so be it. What that shows is that a whole heck of a lot of peopel that shouldn't have been getting loans were getting them, which btw was creating the credit mess in the first place.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Talk about pain and suffering!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse.
      I'm surprised that MINI posted such a huge percentage increase.
      I'm also surprised that Honda's percentage drop is bigger than Toyota's. Is there any explanation for this? Is it because Honda can't push their cars off the dealer lots, or because they don't have sufficient inventory?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Its not like Mini had all that many models last year.

        Plus refreshes help a lot.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm sorry, that 27% decrease is for Dodge in particular -- not Chrysler as a whole.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Also notice that there is a distinction between Chrysler brand and Chrysler LLC which encompasses Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep.
      • 6 Years Ago
      saab fell a lot less than other makes. thats pretty impressive considering the amount of dealer consolidation thats been occuring. i'm already on my 3rd dealer in just over a year due to GM or other dealers buying their franchise
      • 6 Years Ago
      No chance that the current theme for Volvo (the new XC60 will do well I however) is the wrong theme?
      Maybe some Volvo's that we can all agree are Volvo's again? No, I'm not suggesting a retro 240 and 740 revival. Just somthing that will work better with the public.
      • 6 Years Ago
      When was the last time Acura didn't report double digit declines? Anyone?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I am actually surprised that Hummer still sold something. That is a major accomplishment. Same goes for Saab.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've always suspected that for most part, people who buy GM products do not have excellent credit history, and probably no college degree. But this is the direct result of GM pushing the deal rather than the product. So all the people with money & credit went elsewhere, while those without went to GM for cheap leasing/financing. Not that hard to figure out. Again, this is somethng I've been saying for years.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Alex, I don't think I'm slow, but thanks for the "compliment". Unfortunately I believe that you are the one with comprehension handicap. All I merely said was that the major reason why GM has been losing such a huge chunk of sales is partly due to people with less then perfect credit being unable to qualify. They are the ones who make up most of GM's customer base.

        Those with better credit are buying other products from other manufacturers. So what am I trying to say? If GM would have avoided making all its brands as "value brands" then the current damage would not have been as severe.

        I'm right, you're wrong, I'll hold on to my qualifications...thanks
        • 6 Years Ago

        If financing across the board on car loans were capped at a 700 score and the numbers were what they are, then you'd have a leg to stand on.

        Since it is only the financing arm of one company putting on that cap, it makes sense that the affected company's sales would slip at a greater rate than it's competitors who aren't handicapped by the same situation.

        Now I won't go as far as to recommend you turn in your college degree, but if it's in business or financing, you may want to take a refresher.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You really are slow, aren't you?

        All the people who have money, a good credit history (700+) had no problem getting a loan to buy a GM product; read the story genius. People with worse credit were not able to get a loan, due to Cerberus' doing, therefore could not buy a GM product. All of the other manufactures did not have such issues of getting loans for their customers (good AND bad credit).

        If you have one, you need to have your college degree taken away from you.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Because remember, it's not just about the FICO (score is the score and that's that), but also additional open lines, payment history...full blown credit evaluation."

        What do you mean "score is the score and that's that"? You're implying that open lines and payment history have nothing to do with the FICO score and that's flat out wrong. There are 5 broad categories that comprise the FICO score which are:

        1) Payment history
        2) Amounts owed
        3) Length of credit history
        4) New credit
        5) Types of credit in use

        Under those 5 broad categories are approximately 20 specific items that determine the FICO score. About the only thing extra to consider for a car loan is employment history.

        • 6 Years Ago

        Reason why other companies won't implement the fico>700 rule is because they already have guidelines that are stringent enough to drive away any potentially credit unworthy customers (maybe w/ slight exception of Toyota). Because remember, it's not just about the FICO (score is the score and that's that), but also additional open lines, payment history...full blown credit evaluation.

        It GM's constant chase for volume with value brands and GMAC' lax standards, which contributed to the mess that they're in right now.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Sad times for the American auto industry.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The only smart thing I can add to these comments is that: GM should have suspended about half of its car brands when gas hit 2-2.50 dollars mark. That way they could concentrate on directly competing with other car makers and their products would not compete with each other.

      I do not say kill Buick, Saturn, etc. Just suspend them, when things are better, bring them back.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If GM only concentrated on fuel efficient vehicles and quality built cars, it would have sailed through this like Honda and Toyota (Yeah, there sales are down also, but they have enough money to stay afloat. Heck, they even had there plants idle while there employees did volunteer work with no layoffs).

      GM = Fail
        • 6 Years Ago
        General Motors STILL outsold every other company listed. The American companies sold almost 400,000 units. Naturally when you have more of the market you stand to lose more of your sales when EVERYBODY is losing.
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