General Motors Co. reported the steepest drop, 45 percent, when compared with September of last year. Chrysler Group LLC was down 42 percent and Ford Motor Co. had a much smaller decline of 5.1 percent.
Automakers got a big lift in July and August from “Cash For Clunkers”, which spurred sales of nearly 700,000 new cars and trucks. The government program’s big discounts lured in many customers who otherwise would have waited until later in the year to walk into dealerships.
In other words, most people would only buy a Chrysler or GM product if you paid them to.
Now automakers are starting to feel the effect. GM said it sold 155,679 vehicles last month compared with 282,806 in September of last year. Ford reported sales of 114,241 in September, but the decline followed two straight months of rising sales. Chrysler sold only 62,197 vehicles last month.
GM blamed the decline on the clunkers program pulling buyers into July and August, weak consumer confidence and low inventory levels during September before production increases could replenish stocks.
Sales of Ford’s popular F-series trucks rose 3.5 percent, while sales of the new 2010 Taurus sedan increased more than 60 percent.
Awaiting the press release where GM’s new management also blames the sales decline on little green aliens from Mars.