Credit Suisse: Deduct Fleet Sales = 9.9m SAAR

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

• December sales might have been even weaker if not for a hefty slug of fleet deliveries at GM. GM’s overall sales were down 31%, which topped our forecast decline of 34% to 36%. But within that total, GM’s retail sales were down a sharp 41%, while fleet deliveries were about flat year-to-year. If GM’s fleet sales were down roughly in line with the industry average (mid-30% range) the SAAR [Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate] would have been closer to 10.0 million, or perhaps 9.9 million, we estimate.

• The outlook for sales in 1Q09 is no brighter than the 2008 exit rate. Both Ford and GM suggested that sales could run in the 10 to 11 million range in the first part of 2009, with somewhat of a (stimulus-driven) recovery in the back half of the year (has a familiar ring, doesn’t it?).

• GM slashed its production plans throughout the rest of the world, with Europe now set to fall 44%, Latin America 34%,and Asia pacific 27%, versus 1Q08.

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