September Auto Sales Expected to Drop
Industry’s September Song Will Be a Blues Number
By Brendan Moore
Monthly results from all the automakers for September are due out tomorrow, and they’re probably not going to be pretty.
Everyone is expected to take a hit, with the only positive exception being Honda, as a result of the introduction of the 2008 Accord last month.
In fact, most industry analysts think September 2007 will be down as much as 4% from September 2006, which means that 2007 calendar year will then be trending at 15.9 million new vehicles. Compare that to the 2006 total of 16.6 new vehicles sold, and the 2005 total of 16.9 million units retailed, and you see the reason for concern. If sales go below 16 million annually, 2007 will be the worst year for auto sales since 1998. The highest year for sales in the U.S. was 2000, when the car companies sold 17.3 million vehicles in the U.S., at the height of the SUV fad.
A combination of higher fuel prices, economic uncertainty, a credit crunch, the housing bust, and other factors are all contributing to the lower sales figure, and it doesn’t look as if the rest of 2007 is going to be any better. As has been the case all year, Ford is expected to take the worst of it in September, with sales declines that could be in double-digits. GM sales are expected to be flat with the short UAW strike having had no effect on their retail situation, and Chrysler will probably have a slight decrease. Projections regarding tomorrow’s figures get a lot cloudier as we look at the other imports besides Honda, but Toyota and Nissan, the other big pieces of the Japanese puzzle, are expected to show decreases in retail sales tomorrow.
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