September 2009 Auto Sales

General Motors -37%
GM's situation was not as bad in September as many media reported. While its 45% sales plunge versus last year is pretty hideous, those 2008 figures were inflated thanks to the employee pricing incentive (remember that one?). And let's not forget the fact that last year, only the Hummer division was on the block. This year, Hummer and Saab are sold, and Pontiac is a dead man walking (Saturn is, too, but that news didn't come out until very recently). Looking only at the continuing brands, Buick (+10%) did pretty well to post a gain over August, and Cadillac (+64%) roared ahead on the strength of the new SRX, the CTS, and the DTS (curious, that last one). At Chevrolet (-41%), the Suburban/Tahoe were up and the new Equinox (-48%), despite a big post-clunkers swoon, is selling at twice the rate of the old one. GMC's decline (-21%) was cushioned by the arrival of the Terrain.

Ford -37%
Ford looks good compared to a miserable 2008 (-5% versus last year's September figures), but it's feeling the same clunkers hangover as the other domestics. Volvo, down from August (-19%) but doing better than last year, is a bright spot, thanks mostly to the S40 and the V50. With the clunkers madness over, geezers evidently got over their trepidation of entering a dealership and gave the Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car a big month. The Taurus (+49%) is also doing well.

Chrysler -33%
As was the case elsewhere, the severity of the Chrysler divisions' September drop-offs increased in proportion to their clunkers exposure. Jeep (-22%), therefore, didn't do too bad. The Compass was all but sold out, while Wrangler and Commander sales actually increased a bit. Dodge (-32%) was in the middle, with the Challenger and the Charger moving ahead but the Caliber (naturally) dropping precipitously. Chrysler (-51%) fell hardest, and, more worrisome, the drop-off is even greater compared to year-ago levels. Chrysler's big winner in September was the long-ago-canceled Crossfire (+647%), which apparently dealers discovered forgotten in the far corners of their lots once all the unsold PT Cruisers and Sebrings got blown out of there.

Those who weren't invited to the cash-for-clunkers party didn't suffer any bad aftereffects when it ended.
Mercedes-Benz -1%
Jaguar +1%
Maserati +2%
Porsche +4%
Bentley +30%

And in the rarefied very top of the market, stability reigns.
Maybach 8 cars sold, same as August
Rolls-Royce 30 cars sold, same as August
Lamborghini 34 cars sold, same as August
Aston Martin 95 cars sold, same as August
Ferrari 105 cars sold, same as August
Lotus 150 cars sold, same as August
Saab 484 cars sold, same as August
(Okay, maybe Saab doesn't belong in this company. But at least maybe the brand has no further to fall.)

THE TOP 5 BESTSELLING VEHICLES (and rank last month)

  1. Ford F-series 33,877 (up from #2)
  2. Toyota Camry 25,745 (down from #1)
  3. Honda Accord 20,826 (up from #5)
  4. Toyota Corolla/Matrix 20,741 (same)
  5. Chevrolet Silverado 19,401 (up from #6)

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