GM COO: We've Hit Bottom. Maybe.

gm coo weve hit bottom maybe

Deploying its best practitioners of English understatement, Reuters translates an Auto Motor und Sport interview wherein GM COO Fritz Henderson says the “hard-pressed U.S. car market” may have reached bottom after “a dramatic fall” last month. “This September was the weakest month (in years) but I think all the factors that influence consumer behaviour have since emerged. We could have reached the low point.” To substantiate the claim, the former CFO (just like Rick!) spun the previous spin: GM has seen “improved demand” for pickup trucks in August and September. (Improved from what and at what cost in terms of profits? Not specified.) “I don’t mean to say that this marks the turning point. But oil prices have come down and consumers are buying pickups again. That helps us. I am optimistic about our future products but the market has to stabilize.” Which isn’t exactly true: the U.S. new car market seems to have stabilized at 12m units p.a.– roughly 2m lower than Fritz was predicting last spring. At that level, bumping along below a 20 percent market share, GM cannot a profit make.

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  • Usta Bee Usta Bee on Oct 19, 2008

    GM's numbers were UP mainly due to their Employee Pricing sales, and all the money they were putting on the hoods to move metal. Also don't forget all the rental, commercial and fleet sales vehicles that pushed September's numbers up. Now that credit has tanked even worse, and the Employee Pricing sale is over, October's numbers should be REAL interesting.

  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Oct 19, 2008

    Sorry... but this month is turning out to be a bottomless heap of cowpucky for everyone. Tomorrow I will be attending a Carmax sale that will have a grand total of 50 cars. What does that mean? Well, I've never seen their numbers that low... ever. Not even during late 2001. Out of those 50, at least five are repos, and this particular sale is a feeder to 4 stores which means that each store had fewer than 12 trade-in's or lowball 'we buy your car' deals for the entire week. Less than 2 a day. GM will definitely need be the only one in pain. Things may get better during the election, but beware of the inflation hangover that will come with having excessive amounts of dollars (multi-trillions) in the world market... with low demand for them. Short stock, buy nothing, be frugal. Either that or do like me and start financing those that GMAC & Co. will no longer accept. Dual incomes can do wonders to your financial security if they happen to be your customers.

  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Oct 19, 2008

    Now I know when I need an editor. 3rd par. shoulda been... "GM will definitely not be the only one in pain. Things may get better after the elections," I've got 10:00 'itis

  • Stu Sidoti Stu Sidoti on Oct 19, 2008

    Unless many of the automakers, not just GM, can figure out how to finance the millions of car buyers with low FICO scores, I don't think we're near the bottom. Perhaps what some are referring to as 'the bottom' is now the real market if the free-money deals of the last eight+ years have gone the way of the Dodo bird. I believe that the local dealerships will be able to find financing for these customers. However, I also believe that the new, less-generous finance deals will push the payments and terms past the point of acceptability-thus they won't buy. If they cannot get the low-FICO score customers to buy new cars, sales will stay depressed, well below the now expected rate of 16 million units annually until the credit terms are attractive again to these customers. Even the optimists are predicting a US market of 13-14 million units for 2009-that's not exactly a rebound Fritz. Does anyone have figures showing what percentage of 2007-08 buyers with low FICO scores makeup the total US buying public for new cars? I'd be very curious to see that percentage