September Auto Sales Tumble
Overall U.S. auto industry sales down by 2.8% for the month
By Brendan Moore
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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