Sept. Sales: GM Up, Ford Sinks


New vehicle sales were weak during September, asToyota’s numbers dropped slightly and Ford recorded a stunning 21-percent decline.

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 Lincoln brand posted its 12th straight month of higher retail sales. In September, total Lincoln sales were up 33 percent and so far have increased 15 percent this year. However, other vehicles critical to the Dearborn-based automaker, including the Mustang and the F-Series pickup truck, posted double-digit sales declines.

Toyota said its sales dropped almost one percent in September. So far this year Toyota’s sales total are up 3.8 percent. The Toyota Division posted September sales of 187,929, down 0.9 percent from last September. The Lexus division reported September sales of 25,114 units, an increase of 1.6 percent.

"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 California and Florida were soft.


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.

Related Articles


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Auto Sales Heading Below 16 Million? by Joseph Szczesny (9/4/2007)
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August Sales: GM Up, Ford Down by Marty Padgett (9/4/2007)
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