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

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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.



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