By The Numbers: September Sales Fall Like Leaves
September wasn't kind to the auto industry. Total U.S. light vehicle sales ended the month 2.9 percent below September 2006. The year-to-date (YTD) news wasn't very encouraging either; sales for the first nine months of 2007 are 2.8 percent below the same time last year. Of The Big 2.8, only GM finished the month (barely) in the black. Ford, Chrysler, and Toyota all posted declines compared with last September. Looking at our four-wheeled sampler, separating the winners from the losers is a matter of seeing who lost less.
The bad news: Chevy's Impala dropped about 1800 sales from August. The good news: the sales stalwart's up six percent compared to September last year; up 13.9 percent YTD. Chrysler's once-mighty 300 ain't so mighty no mo'. September sales dropped 13.2 percent, while annual sales fell 14.9 percent. Fusion sales offered Ford a glimmer of hope, rising 9.6 percent for the month, racking-up a 1.3 percent gain for the year. Toyota's killer Camry continues its sales growth, up 5.7 percent on the month and 7.1 percent for the year.
Rebates reigned supreme. Despite slapping more cash on the hood and even more generous financing incentives, Chevy Silverado sales rose just one percent for the month. YTD, sales are down 1.9 percent. Dodge is also throwing cash at Ram buyers, which helped jack-up sales by 20 percent. Annual sales are up just 0.6, but it's still a victory (of sorts). Smaller cash rebates and not-quite-so-cut-rate financing aren't helping Ford's F-Series; sales were off a whopping 20.8 percent, running 12.9 percent total behind last year. Toyota revived its incentive campaigns on the Tundra, sending the texas-built pickup on its way to meeting its first-year sales goal of 200k units. Tundra sales rose 55.2 percent for the month and 57.9 percent YTD.
Although Chevy's Tahoe sales for the month leaped by an amazing 52.2 percent (fleets?), YTD sales slipped 9.2 percent. Dodge's Durango's sales are MIA, sinking a titanic 49.6 percent; it'down 29.8 percent YTD. The Ford Explorer was almost as lost, dropping 31.9 percent, losing 24.2 percent YTD. Toyota's not immune to the SUV exodus: 4Runner sales sank 2.7 percent, down 16.8 percent YTD.
After a brief rally in August, Chevy's Equinox dropped almost 5k units in September. It's down 4.1 percent for the month, and 21.1 percent for the year. The Pacifica is all at sea. September sales of Chrysler's hoary CUV are down a staggering 43.8 percent, and 29.6 percent below the first nine months of 2006. Ford's Escape helped The Blue Oval Boyz escape bankruptcy for another month. Escape sales rose 10.3 percent on the month and up 3.8 percent on the year. Toyota redesigned RAV-4 rocks. Sales increased 24.8 percent, 14.1 percent YTD.
Overall, GM's Lambda triplets (Acadia, Enclave, Outlook) racked-up over 12k sales in September. GMC's Acadia, up 800 units from August, continues to be the most popular of GM's Lambda CUVs. The Ford Edge continues edging-up from its drastic drop in July, with an increase of 1500 sales over August. Jeep's Compass wasn't so fortunate. It dropped 800 sales from August.
Although September sales fell below August's peak, GM finished the month 0.3 percent above the previous year. They're still below 2006 for the YTD, with a 6.6 percent drop. Chrysler and Ford both ended the month 5.4 and 20.4 percent respectively below September 2006. Chrysler is down three percent YTD and Ford is 13.3 percent lower YTD. Toyota finished below 2006 for the second month in a row, this time with a 4.4 percent deficit. However, YTD, they show a 3.8 percent increase.
As the 2007 model year winds down– with the usual clearance sales and the '08 models flooding into the showrooms– GM begins the new year with a new UAW contract. Under the new agreement, they're sure to [s]force [/s]encourage a lot of their experienced workers to retire, resulting in a large labor turnover. What impact these changes will have on production, prices or quality remains to be seen. All three domestic automakers are saying the new union contracts will give them parity with Toyota and the other transplants. How quickly this will translate into better designs and an improved product– if at all– anyone's guess.
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