Carmageddon for Hyundai, GM, Chrysler, Ford, by Wolf Richter

Many of the automakers are looking green around the gills. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

But not every automaker got crushed.

Every month in 2017, auto industry data providers have given dismal forecasts of auto sales. And every month, these forecasts weren’t nearly dismal enough. On July 27, Kelley Blue Book forecast that total new vehicle sales in July would fall 5.7% year-over-year. It would be the worst year-over-year decline this year. But it wasn’t nearly bad enough.

Instead, what we got…

Oh, if you see words like “plunge,” “plummet,” or “collapse” a lot, it’s because that’s the kind of numbers some automakers reported today.

  • Total new vehicle sales fell 7.0% year-over-year to 1.415 million, according to Autodata. This is the number of vehicles sold and delivered by dealers to their customers, or delivered by automakers directly to large fleet customers.
  • It was the seventh month in a row of year-over-year declines.
  • Year-to-date, total new vehicle sales are down 2.9%.
  • Car sales plunged 13.8% to 525,020 vehicles. They’re down 11.7% year-to-date.
  • Truck sales – which include pickups, SUVs, compact SUVs, and vans – had been booming as Americans are shifting from cars to trucks. They accounted for 63.3% of total retail sales, the highest ever for any July, and the 13th month in a row above 60%. But even these erstwhile booming truck sales fell 2.5% from a year ago to 890,119 vehicles.
  • The Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of sales fell to 16.7 million, the fifth month in a row under 17 million, and down from 17.8 million in July 2016.
  • The average new vehicle sold to retail customers had spent 72 days on the lot, according to J. D. Power, the highest since July 2009 during the collapse of the auto industry.
  • Loans of 84 months and longer accounted for more than 6% of retail sales for the first time ever.

No, automakers didn’t “slash” fleet sales

Some automakers like to claim they’re backing off low-margin fleet sales. The media hype this up — “carmakers slash rental fleet sales,” is how Reuters explained the July sales swoon. But automakers are not slashing any kind of sales. They’re trying to get what they can. Otherwise they’d have to close even more plants and lay off even more people.

To continue reading: Carmageddon for Hyundai, GM, Chrysler, Ford

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