Surprise! August Sales Sucked!
The Detroit Free Press reports that early August sales estimates show a 14.4 percent drop in new metal moved. But don't turn off your pacemaker yet; the biggest shocker is that Detroit is bearing the overwhelming brunt of the downturn. Estimates from Edmunds show that Chrysler sales dropped 34 percent, GM slid by 27.5 percent and Ford endured a 16.3 percent drop compared to August a year ago. Toyota continues to shed sales but grow market share, slipping by half the industry average at 7.2 percent. The winners in August were Honda, which posted a 0.9 percent increase, and Nissan which defied the market to bump sales by 2.3 percent. On the whole, the market appears to be picking up slightly, with a 13.1m seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) up from 12.6m in July. With consumer confidence rising in August, the overall economy appears to be taking its Prozac, but don't expect an auto sales turnaround this year. GM's sharp losses show that even with once-popular "employee pricing" incentives, consumer demand for cars isn't what it once was.