Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Auto Sales Plunge In February

Automobile Sales Plunge Again! The continuing severe sales declines have hit the automakers like a February snow storm. These numbers are the percentage of sales this year versus last year. Consumer confidence has taken a steep decline. Consumers are concerned with the economy, job losses and their ability to make payments. Consumers ability to get loans have also factored in the sales declines.

  • General Motors down 53%

  • Ford down 48%

  • Chrysler down 44%

  • Toyota down 40%

  • Nissan down 39%

  • Honda down 38%

  • Hyundai down 2%

Hyundai has limited severe declines in their sales via a creative incentive for its customers. Hyundai will cover a new vehicle's depreciation if customers return a car within 12 months because they are unable to make payments due to a job loss, disability etc. Subaru sales were up 1% mainly due to the Forester model shown below. The Forester doubled in sales over the same period last year.

Even though automakers have spent more money on rebates, low interest rate financing and other incentives, buyers have continued to avoid purchasing new cars.

Many buyers are opting for used cars due to the decline in used car prices over the last year. Althought rising used car prices may change that picture.

GM and Chrysler are have submitted their viability plans to the government. The automobile business is a capital intensive business and severe sales declines impact their ability to operate. The American auto manufacturers are not currently well capitalized. Few businesses can take severe sales declines without a substantial balance sheet and the cash to endure this downturn. These kind of numbers if sustained would be a difficult obstacle to their continued viability.


  1. That's an interesting idea - that Hyundai offer. I know of a family who saved masses of pounds buying a Jaguar XKR .. nearly new as such .. I'm waiting for a ride!

    I suppose Sam Walton is the car enthusiasts nemesis ..driving the same car for 50 years .. I think is what he did? But you'll know!!

    Thanks Pete .. for that info - Hilary:Be Positive Be Happy

  2. Hilary,

    The Jaguar XKR is an exceptional ride! Hopefully, I can give you some input for your next ride. Unfortunately, I think we will see a number of brands and models go is exceptionally sad.

    Regarding Sam was a Ford Pinto. I had one shortly after I graduated from school. The car was junk!! I don't know how he could have driven it that long. Obviously not a car guy!

    Best Regards


  3. Hello Pete, Jaguar XKR is my dream car! Car is grown up boys best toy. I was shocked to hear that Toyota booked loss in January. I have never seen the company booking the loss even in high yen evaluation days. I hope car makers will find their way out of this vicious cycle.

    Thank you for your article. I enjoyed that a lot!

    Shaw Funami
    Fill the Missing Link
    for Cross Cultural Exchange

  4. Shaw,

    I agree with you that the Jaguar XKR is a fabulous car. Both you and Hilary mentioned that car. It is one of my favorites! I will schedule a post on it shortly.

    Yes, Toyota posted their first loss in corporate history. Also, they have applied to the Japanese government for a $2 billion dollar loan.

    Thanks for commenting on my blog!

    Best Regards


  5. Well I'm pleased the XKR has had such good reactions ..

    Sam Walton - obviously not a car man .. but a man of working out the cheapest way to do things!!

    Our first car was an Austin 7 .. we could drive it round the garden ..

    Thanks Pete .. Hilary: Be Positive Be Happy

  6. Hilary,

    Thank you for your comments! The R version of of a Jaguar is always the best example of Jaguar performance.

    The Austin would be a good example of a blast to the past! I will put it on the list!

    Best Regards


  7. The American motor companies need to incorporate the business ideas to get on subaru's and hyundai's level or there might not be an american car in the near future. Great article Pete! Very informative.

    Dr. Bob

  8. Dr. Bob,

    Thank you for your comments! The American companies have made some HUGE mistakes! It appears that they are turning the tide in quality and design! Your right they have to innovate to succeed!

    A future post will go into more detail about the future of the American auto industy!

    Best Regards