US Auto Sales Plummet in August: Post-Clunker Drops and Gains


August sales, for the most part, are hurting from a year ago. To be precise, initial data showed sales came in at 997,574, down 21 percent from a year earlier, according to Autonews. After the cash-for-clunkers sales surge of '09, it was to be expected. So, after the economy's cash-injection car sale plan, where do automakers stand compared to August last year?
First off, American automakers are all over the map: Ford is down 14%, Chrysler is up 7% due to fleet sales, and GM fell off a hefty 25%.
Japanese automakers, on the other hand, are all down. Isuzu is gone, so that's a big goose egg either way; Subaru, Mazda, and Nissan kept their drops in the 23-27% range, while Honda, Toyota, and Mitsubishi ranged from 33% to 37%. Toyota, while gaining significantly from the clunkers program, was not only affected by the predicted drop but also by a variety of recalls. Of all the automakers selling vehicles in America, Suzuki just plain got smacked; it's in freefall after a 68% drop.
John Mendel, sales VP for American Honda, says, "We've known that August comparisons would be irrelevant due to the 'cash-for- clunkers' program last year...The good news is that we continue to see increasing demand for Honda products..."
Korean Hyundai group managed to stem the bleeding, attaining a Ford-like drop of only 15%.
The Germans all seem to be doing fairly well, with Daimler (+7%) and Porsche (+33%) milking gains while VW (-3%) and BMW (-2%) both stayed strong with minimized declines.
Volvo and Saab, due to their change in ownership, have some faulty numbers (see below). Other Europeans were also strong, with Maserati, Jaguar / Land Rover each posting an impressive 25% gain.
Analysts realize that these numbers are all over the place, and have stated multiple times that comparing figures to a year ago would not make sense. Therefore, they are using more comparable (albeit much closer) previous month figures to make evaluations on the state of the market.
By Phil Alex
Source: Autonews (sub. required)