Hazards Aplenty on US Automakers' Sales Route

05 September 2008

DETROIT: The Indian Summer season it may be - but the current US economic climate has done little to warm-up the nation's automaking industry.

August figures from researcher Autodata show  light-vehicles sales (not SUVs or trucks) were down across the board, with General Motors reporting a 20% slide, compared with the year earlier period.

Toyota Motor's equivalent sales were down 9.4%, Ford Motor Company's plunged 27%, while Honda Motor's sales slid a more modest 7.4%.

Only Nissan bucked the trend with an increase in August of 13.6%.

To compound the gloom, Ford's marketing chief  Jim Farley, warned the second half of 2008 would be still "more challenging", the result of tight credit, especially for sub-prime buyers.

Nonetheless, GM reported its best month of the year, thanks to its reintroduced employee-discount incentive scheme, designed to shift SUVs and trucks. Sales were almost a third higher last month than in July.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff