On cue vehicles sales dropped as the federal “cash for clunkers” program ran expired after helping pick up sales for almost two months. Overall, sales were down 22.7% compared to September 2008 and down 27.4% for the year.
The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for light vehicles now stands at 9.22 million, compared to 12.57 million units in September 2008.
Ford Motor Company has the relatively best month among the former Big Three. Ford’s sales slipped only 6% in September allowing it to pick up share on its sluggish competitors ranging from General Motors and Toyota to Mercedes-Benz and smart.
GM and Chrysler continued to post enormous drops in sales. Sales at both companies dropped roughly 42%. Chrysler will struggle to sell 1 million vehicles this year. Ford could wind up building more vehicles than GM — the first time since Republican Herbert Hoover was president and ushered in the Great Depression, or maybe it was under “silent” Calvin Coolidge that Ford beat GM.
Meanwhile, Toyota reported a 16% drop in sales. Honda sales fell 22%. Mazda has dropped 12%. Nissan’s fell 7%. Audi sales also dropped 5%.
Hyundai and Kia each posted strong sales during September. Kia’s sales climbed 24%, while Hyundai has increased 27% as both companies benefited from the extension of their product lines.
Volkswagen also reported small but arguably significant increases in sales, partly because Chrysler had resumed shipments of the Routan minivan to VW dealers. Without the Routan, VW would have had negative numbers. As it has all year long, Subaru also posted an increase, as did BMW with help from the Mini-brand.
Mercedes-Benz sales dropped 9.6%. The new E-Class did well but the rest of the line continued to feel the impact of shift in American spending habits away from luxury vehicles. Smart also saw its sales decline in September.