September Auto Sales Tumble

Overall U.S. auto industry sales down by 2.8% for the month

By Brendan Moore

10.02.2007

Well, everyone’s September numbers showed up by 5 pm Eastern, so here’s a quick recap.

Ford took it on the chin (again), with their September sales showing a staggering 20.4% drop compared to September 2006. Some of the detail behind that drop is as follows: retail sales went down 15%, sales to rental fleets went down 62%, passenger car sales collapsed, with a 39% drop, and even the headliner at Ford, the venerable F-150 pickup, was down 21%, and the rest of the trucks, an unusual 9%.

Toyota was down 4.4% compared to same month last year, but more unsettling was the fact that it was the third straight month of sales declines for the huge Japanese auto company.

VW, which also covers Audi and Bentley, watched their sales drop 4.5% for the month, with that drop apportioned out to the VW brand.

Chrysler weighed in with a 5.4% drop, but there was the silver lining of an increase in passenger car sales of 19%, spearheaded by the new Sebring sedan.

Honda had an overall increase of 9.4%, led by sales of the new Accord, whose sales rose 26%. Truck sales rose 12%, with the CR-V small SUV leading the way with a whopping 62% jump. The diminutive CR-V has become the best-selling SUV in the U.S. in 2007, dethroning the previous No. 1, the Ford Explorer.

General Motors had some good news, posting an increase in sales of 0.3% in what has been a difficult market for everyone lately. They would have preferred numbers like Honda’s, certainly, but what GM got was a lot better than what some of the other players in the auto industry rang up in September.

Mazda made everyone look like under-achievers with their gaudy 23.9% increase, but then again, their numbers came off a much smaller base of sales from last year.

Nissan turned in a very good performance for September, as they posted a healthy 6.7% increase for the month over last year’s numbers.

Hyundai Group (includes Kia) stayed pretty much where they were, which is not where they wanted to be, but is a lot better than a sharp stick in the eye, which is what the month brought for others.

And finally, we saved the worst for last – Isuzu (yes, they still sell vehicles here) not only saw their September sales drop by 22.2%, the actual number of monthly unit sales is down to a miserable 565 trucks and SUVs. At this point, you have to wonder why they bother, and further, after you divide that number up among their dealer population, why their dealers bother. And there is no new product in the pipe, either.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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6 Comments

  1. How is Ford possibly going to make it? Just how are they ever going to get going again, because it just keeps getting worse for them? SHould they jsut pack it in regarding America?

  2. I just have one question: Didn’t Isuzu go out of business a couple of years ago? How can Isuzus still show up in the sales numbers? Are those 2005 leftovers that are being sold?

  3. creepyclown, Ford is certainly in a tough situation. They also do not have firm product plans for a few years down the road, and no help coming in terms of new product (other than an F-150) in the real short term.

    grimmer, Isuzu actually is still in business in the US. They sell mostly medium duty trucks at this point, but also sell rebadged GM midsize pickups (similar to the Colorado and Canyon) and a rebadged GM SUV (similar to the GMC Envoy). The lineup is really sparse, though – and there are no cars in it or exclusive Isuzu products.

  4. Ford is going to come back in the US stronger than ever, and then all the doubters will be eating their words. Mulally is doing a great job turning around Ford, but it’s not gonna happen overnight. There is going to be some pain along the way. But it is working.

  5. GM’s increase is so small that it’s really statistically insignificant. Maybe a better description in your article would been that their sales were flat.

  6. Anonymous, GM’s increase may have been nearly flat in absolute terms – 0.3% is not much – but relative to the rest of the market (-2.8%), it was a 3.1% swing. Not bad in a tough environment.

    Also, the 0.3% was not an apples to apples comparison, because September 2006 had one more selling day than September 2007 did. Adjusted for the number of selling days, on a per selling day basis GM’s sales were up 4.4%.

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