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by Brett Davis

Car sales for August in America hovered around some of the lowest figures companies have seen in a long time. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for August was 10.8 million units which was down on July’s 11.6-million.

According to Automotive News, the drop in sales for August brings annual figures perilously close to the 2009 figures, which were the lowest in 27 years. Industry sales were up by just 8 percent compared to last year. Although this is a positive, last year’s figures weren’t anything to go by. As we know, many American auto manufacturers suffered badly through the financial crisis during that period. Principal of consulting firm AutoTrends, Joe Phillippi, said in a recent Automotive News report,

“The car market and the overall economy are pretty weak. Showroom traffic is down. We still have issues on the margin with some people not being able to get credit, and people are nervous.”

For Ford Motors, since the cash for clunkers program was launched a year ago which boosted new car sales by as much as 17 percent, reported August sales which were down by 14 percent compared last year. A bit like two steps forward, one step back.

General Motors reported a 25 percent decline in sales for the same year-to-date period, the company missed out on reaping the cash for clunkers benefits too, which didn’t stop sales dropping by 20 percent in August 2009 – a month after recovering from bankruptcy. Kind of a one step back, another step back scenario.

Toyota also suffered during August slumps, with sales down by 34 percent compared to last year. But the company did capatilise well from the cash for clunkers program in 2009, so the company’s year-to-date sales are just behind last year’s effort.

Overall, the decrease in year-to-date sales could be a direct result of the cash for clunkers program which boosted short-term sales for most American dealers during 2009. Now it has been hard for the companies to match the government-assisted figures of last year.




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