New vehicle sales were weak during September, as
General Motors reported a four-percent sales increase, while Chrysler reported a five-percent sales decline and blamed the drop on the transition to the 2008 model year.
Meanwhile, Nissan, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, and Mitsubishi reported double-digit sales increases on the strength of new product, while BMW and Subaru reported modest sales increases. Audi, Hyundai and Kia reported essentially flat sales and Volkswagen said its sales dropped by almost six percent.
George Pipas, Ford’s sales analyst, defended the sharp drop in sales at his company by noting that its market share was still holding at the level outlined in the company’s “Way Forward” recovery.
“We still have 13-percent market share, which what we projected in our plan,” he said.
On a better note for Ford, the
"Given September's economic headwinds, the industry saw a fair month," said Jim Lentz, TMS executive vice president. "The fall selling season is likely to benefit from increased stabilization and modest gains," he added.
Paul Ballew, GM’s general director of market analysis, said the interest rate cut last month by the Federal Reserve Board should help stabilize sales of new vehicles in the next few months. The annual rate of light-duty vehicle sales dropped to about 16.3 million units in September, he added.
“It was absolutely the right thing to do,” he said. “We didn’t want the volatility in the credit markets to spill over into the auto markets.”
Ballew said the sales results for September were quite encouraging for GM, which saw its market share move past 25 percent for the second month in a row. Ballew raised some warning flags, however, as sales in
One of the keys to keeping sales rolling in what has been a challenging market has been new product, carmakers said.
"September was our first full month of sales for the new 2008 Subaru Impreza," said Tim Colbeck, vice president of sales, Subaru of America, Inc. "The market has responded with enthusiasm to the new product and we see this trend continuing through the end of the year.”
"The mid-September launch of the all-new Accord helped increase sales momentum for both the model and the Honda brand," said Dick Colliver, executive vice president of American Honda.
Will Sales Slow in 2008? by Joseph Szczesny (9/17/2007)
Greenspan: quit whining, start building.
August Sales: GM Up, Ford Down by Marty Padgett (9/4/2007)
Generally upbeat numbers set automakers for slow fall?