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Thread: US auto sales dive again in Sept. '08

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    US auto sales dive again in Sept. '08

    The odds stack higher and higher against the companies in trouble.

    U.S. auto sales slumped again in September despite sales incentives and falling gas prices in what Ford Motor Co. said was the weakest month yet for the industry this year.

    "Consumers and businesses are in a very fragile place," said Ford marketing chief Jim Farley.
    [Auto makers report September sales] Getty Images

    Ford Motor, along with other auto makers, has seen its pickup sales slump badly this year.

    General Motors Corp. Chief Operating Officer Fritz Henderson said he expects the U.S. auto market weakness to continue into 2009 as consumers worry about credit and gasoline prices. On the bright side, GM said September marked its best monthly market share in 2008.

    "We again gained retail share, and our total market share looks to be above 27% for the month without an increase in incentives," said Mark LaNeve, GM's North America sales chief.

    Ford, Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. reported declines of 35%, 32% and 24%, respectively, while GM rode its now-expired employee-prices sales promotion to keep its decline to 16%.

    GM sales of cars and light trucks for September dropped to 282,806, from 334,974 a year earlier. There were 24 selling days, one less than a year ago. Sales of trucks and sport-utility vehicles fell 19% to 164,366, while car sales declined 9.8% to 118,440.

    GM launched an employee-discount promotion on Aug. 20 in honor of its 100th anniversary, which stemmed sales declines that month and prompted the incentive's exentsion through September. Ninteen vehicles also were added to the list of eligible vehicles.

    GM announced new incentives Wednesday to replace its employee-pricing program. The auto maker plans to offer discounts of up to $5,000 on some pickups and SUVS, including several 2009 models. Discounts on new models have been a rarity in the auto industry, but conditions are different this year, as consumers are slammed by plunging home values, high fuel costs and reduced availability of credit.

    GM, which also reiterated its fourth-quarter North American production forecast, has said it has "aggressively managed" inventories to low levels. In September, about 717,000 vehicles were in stock, down 20% from a year earlier.
    [Toyota photo] Associated Press

    Unsold 4Runners sit at a Toyota dealership in the southeast Denver suburb of Centennial, Colo.

    Toyota's fifth-straight month of sales drops shows how the Japanese giant -- once considered almost immune to the economic forces that have battered its Detroit-based rivals -- is now also suffering. Toyota sold 144,260 vehicles in September, compared with 213,042 a year earlier.

    Toyota, which is battling GM for the crown of the world's best-selling auto maker, said passenger car sales fell 28% to 88,342, while SUV sales dropped 38% to 22,784. Toyota led GM in sales in the first half of the year and narrowly missed out on unseating GM as the world's top auto seller last year.

    Toyota division sales fell 36%, and Lexus recorded a 32% decline.

    For Toyota, the last five years have seen particularly rapid sales growth, as the company expanded in the U.S. and other overseas markets. But the past 12 months have delivered more bad news for the auto industry than anyone imagined, making it difficult for Toyota and other auto makers to use emerging-market sales to offset huge U.S. losses.

    As for Ford, it sold 120,355 light vehicles, down 35% from 183,769 a year earlier.

    Ford truck and van sales fell 39% with SUV sales tumbling 57% and F-series truck sales dropping 42%. Weak truck and SUV sales recently led Ford to push back the launch of its redesigned F-150 pickup truck that once was expected to drive the company's recovery. Ford said Wednesday the first shipments of the new F-150 will soon arrive at dealers; ridding lots of the older model is ahead of schedule, Mr. Farley said.

    Honda's sales fell 24% to 96,626, with cars off 22% and trucks sliding 27%. Dick Colliver, Honda's executive vice president of sales, said no one has been immune to the turmoil on Wall Street, including Honda.

    Volkswagen AG said its U.S. vehicle sales for September fell 9.4%, to 17,109 from 18,891 a year earlier. Hyundai Motor Co.'s U.S. sales fell 25%, to 24,765 from 33,214.

    Chrysler LLC is expected to report September sales later Wednesday.

    There is hope that falling oil prices will help boost auto sales, notably pickup trucks and SUVs, and a $25 billion low-interest loan program approved by President Bush on Tuesday also has given some hope to auto makers. The loans are meant to accelerate the development of fuel-efficient vehicles and are expected to principally benefit GM, Ford and Chrysler. The loans could save the auto makers hundreds of millions of dollars and could make bankruptcy less likely.

    Wall Street Journal

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    We have been in the same boat, We have had a 30% drop in oil prices, Yet only about 15% in fuel prices...
    People still think fuel is always going to be high, So they buy used or smaller, Yet they forget even these larger cars today are fuel efficient.

    But i wouldn't blame anyone right now for thinking saving is the best way to go.
    "Just a matter of time i suppose"

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    ord truck and van sales fell 39% with SUV sales tumbling 57% and F-series truck sales dropping 42%. Weak truck and SUV sales recently led Ford to push back the launch of its redesigned F-150 pickup truck that once was expected to drive the company's recovery.
    Please don't make so many of them and make rwd cars instead.
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    Quote Originally Posted by f6fhellcat13 View Post
    Please don't make so many of them and make rwd cars instead.
    That's the enthusiast's dream, but in the current market, is it wise to make cars that cost more to make and are more expensive? People already have a huge problem with gas prices. You take the vast majority of the population, do they really care what wheels are driven? I don't really think so - they care if the car is nice, they care if the car is reliable, they care if the car is the right price.

    I think only enthusiasts care about RWD - I mean average drivers probably care about AWD but even still not a huge amount as they are unwilling to pay the premium for the upgrade or to consider a car with that option.

    I think that the big three need to focus on making good bread and butter cars - entry level midsize and compact cars that are better and/or cheaper than their Japanese counterparts - not an easy proposition. I also think they need to lobby Washington and hell even Ottawa to raise taxes on competitive imports to make the market more in favour of cars built in North America and by American car companies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dino Scuderia View Post
    "Consumers and businesses are in a very fragile place," said Ford marketing chief Jim Farley.
    [Auto makers report September sales] Getty Images

    Ford Motor, along with other auto makers, has seen its pickup sales slump badly this year.

    GM sales of cars and light trucks for September dropped to 282,806, from 334,974 a year earlier. There were 24 selling days, one less than a year ago. Sales of trucks and sport-utility vehicles fell 19% to 164,366, while car sales declined 9.8% to 118,440.

    GM announced new incentives Wednesday to replace its employee-pricing program. The auto maker plans to offer discounts of up to $5,000 on some pickups and SUVS, including several 2009 models. Discounts on new models have been a rarity in the auto industry, but conditions are different this year, as consumers are slammed by plunging home values, high fuel costs and reduced availability of credit.


    Unsold 4Runners sit at a Toyota dealership in the southeast Denver suburb of Centennial, Colo.

    Ford truck and van sales fell 39% with SUV sales tumbling 57% and F-series truck sales dropping 42%. Weak truck and SUV sales recently led Ford to push back the launch of its redesigned F-150 pickup truck that once was expected to drive the company's recovery. Ford said Wednesday the first shipments of the new F-150 will soon arrive at dealers; ridding lots of the older model is ahead of schedule, Mr. Farley said.
    There still seems to be a massive focus on SUV sales....I think its time to realise that they just arnt practicle anymore
    Lifts heavy things and hits hard......also eats as much as 2/3 people and sleeps 10 hours a day!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitdy View Post
    That's the enthusiast's dream, but in the current market, is it wise to make cars that cost more to make and are more expensive? People already have a huge problem with gas prices. You take the vast majority of the population, do they really care what wheels are driven? I don't really think so - they care if the car is nice, they care if the car is reliable, they care if the car is the right price.

    I think only enthusiasts care about RWD - I mean average drivers probably care about AWD but even still not a huge amount as they are unwilling to pay the premium for the upgrade or to consider a car with that option.

    I think that the big three need to focus on making good bread and butter cars - entry level midsize and compact cars that are better and/or cheaper than their Japanese counterparts - not an easy proposition. I also think they need to lobby Washington and hell even Ottawa to raise taxes on competitive imports to make the market more in favour of cars built in North America and by American car companies.
    But for big cars rear wheel drive is still the way to go.

    Big cars need a relatively high amount of power which makes front wheel drive unsuitable. You mention four wheel drive, but that's not good for fuel efficiency.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrer View Post
    But for big cars rear wheel drive is still the way to go.

    Big cars need a relatively high amount of power which makes front wheel drive unsuitable. You mention four wheel drive, but that's not good for fuel efficiency.
    Let me reintroduce the C6....it allows high speed motorway stability, without having to worry about lateral winds etc and there is still enough power. But of course the C6 is unavailable in the USA.

    What is currently topping the sales list there? Last time I looked for the figures for 2008 up to September is was the Suburban....
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    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    What is currently topping the sales list there? Last time I looked for the figures for 2008 up to September is was the Suburban....
    Oh dear... *sigh*
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrer View Post
    But for big cars rear wheel drive is still the way to go.

    Big cars need a relatively high amount of power which makes front wheel drive unsuitable. You mention four wheel drive, but that's not good for fuel efficiency.
    Yeah but big cars are not driving the North American car market and haven't for some time now and people are drifting away form then more and more.

    For the big three to produce powerful, big, RWD cars is just not a good plan at this time I think. I have concerns over how the new pony cars will do for example - people are looking for cheaper gas bills and those are small FWD cars. In terms of American cars, what large ones sell in any large number anyways? The vast majority of large cars I see are German luxury cars and I think Detroit has shown that they simply can't compete with these cars and that building a large RWD car would simply be a waste.

    As for AWD, I can imagine that it decreases fuel efficiency but it is something that I know some people look for in cars - especially in snowy areas on this continent. My point was that the average driver probably does not consider RWD/FWD when they buy a car - if they do, some consider FWD superior as in adverse weather as the back doesn't step out - once again, important in snowy or rainy areas. Enthusiasts are interested in RWD cars but this is a small fraction of the market. AWD is bad for fuel potentially but something that will sell cars on a large scale - I dunno if RWD will do the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitdy View Post
    The vast majority of large cars I see are German luxury cars and I think Detroit has shown that they simply can't compete with these cars and that building a large RWD car would simply be a waste.
    last time I looked the Chrysler 300 had RWD....
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    The problem is the automakers still cling to the hope that people will still buy large SUVs and pickup trucks, even as sales are ever declining.

    Most of the demand has been smaller, FWD sedans, or large SUVs. The majority of people aren't going to care if a car is FWD, RWD, or AWD, as long as it gets them from A to B. I personally don't like FWD, I don't like how it feels, but that's just my opinion. There may be people who share my opinion and those who are against it. Overall, it's just an opinion.

    The future is cars of all shapes, sizes, engine types, fuel types, and drivetrains. Once the SUV fetish is dead and buried, demand will once again be for cars of all kinds. However, I do believe SUVs do need to be kept alive, because once SUVs are dead, the environmental hatred will shift to performance cars, unless the whole "green" obsession subsides. I'm all for being environmental friendly, but it doesn't mean you need to make your life miserable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    last time I looked the Chrysler 300 had RWD....
    Mustang, G8, Camaro and a proposed El Camino too must also be a waste?

    And Zytek Fan they will be kept alive theyll just trim the fat of softroaders and hopefully leave the very small numbers of genuine off roaders that have a purpose (that cant be filled by a "mini-van" or a station wagon or "estate" as the euros call it)
    Last edited by Falcon500; 10-02-2008 at 12:32 AM.
    Lifts heavy things and hits hard......also eats as much as 2/3 people and sleeps 10 hours a day!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon500 View Post
    Mustang, G8, Camaro and a proposed El Camino too must also be a waste?
    but these are not we would normally refer to as "big cars"
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    i still find it funny that americans shy away from larger RWD cars after yapping for them all these years, because they think petrol is expensive. lol. especially when the cars in question are only a few MPG different from 'acceptable' options
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    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    Let me reintroduce the C6....it allows high speed motorway stability, without having to worry about lateral winds etc and there is still enough power. But of course the C6 is unavailable in the USA.

    What is currently topping the sales list there? Last time I looked for the figures for 2008 up to September is was the Suburban....
    Well, how much would the C6 cost in North America? Would North Americans like the styling? Or the diesels? Or the fact that it is French? It may well be a good car for this continent (remember Canada is part of North America, Mexico as well - but the American and Canadian car market are quite similar... Yet we are ignored.) but would people accept it and would it be cheap? Many here are probably biased against French cars just as many in Europe are biased against American cars.

    I mean is the Malibu that bad? There is a hybrid version as well for higher fuel economy.

    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    last time I looked the Chrysler 300 had RWD....
    Yeah that is true henk I forgot that one. I wonder how it sells in comparison to the big three German luxury companies - this is hardly scientific, but I see more 5-series' and the like.

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