Here it is, the first full month of sales after the government's popular Cash for Clunkers has ended. The expected result – that auto sales would plummet once the feds stopped handing out free money in exchange for clunkers – didn't exactly happen. Nine brands posted positive sales in September versus the same period in 2008 with another three posting single-digit losses.
We weren't expecting this, especially from General Motors, which was forced to sell cars and trucks last month amidst rumors of impending bankruptcy (something that came to fruition as soon as the month was over). Despite this, GM posted a decrease in sales volume of only 29.55%. Sure, GM's sales decreased last month compared to May 2008, but they decreased at a far slower rate than its major Japanese competitors: Toyota (-40.72%), Honda (-41.46%) and Nissan (-33.10%). Plus, check out the chart
We're doing something new for this month's By the Numbers – ordering each brand and automaker by the most number of vehicles sold to the least. We used to order everything alphabetically, but figured this way easily surfaced an extra facet of information. On to the numbers.
Despite today being April Fools' Day, not one of the sales figures reported by automakers below for the month of March 2009 is a joke. The U.S. auto industry's sales slide continues, and despite the overall market selling more vehicles in March versus February, nearly all brands fell versus the same month in 2008.
One more day in February wouldn't have done much to salvage yet another bad month of sales for the U.S. auto industry, but it wouldn't have hurt. All of the big automakers saw sales down around 40% or more last month compared to February 2008. Chrysler Co. (-44%), Ford Motor Company (-48.4%) and General Motors (-52.9%) again took the brunt of it, but Toyota (-39.8%), Honda (-38%) and Nissan (-37%) weren't far behind. This just goes to show that the argument about U.S. domestic automakers not sel
All the numbers are in for the first month of sales in 2009... and they aren't pretty. Chrysler LLC and General Motors continue to lead the pack with sales drops of 54.8% and 48.8%, respectively. While the overall economy is weak and access to credit limited, the fact that Americans watched both domestic automakers plead for and receive federal aid in December may have contributed to their particularly poor sales performance in January. Adding support to that theory is Ford Motor Company, which
We didn't know sales for the U.S. auto industry in 2008 would be this bad when the year began, but it sure ended on a fitting note. Over the past six months or so we've seen the U.S. auto sales market nearly collapse and almost take our own domestic auto industry with it.
The U.S. auto industry hasn't experienced a worse year of sales in recent memory, so it's fitting that 2008 should close with December sales data that's no better than the previous disappointing months.