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Wednesday, 01 September 2010 15:53

August Auto Sales Could be Worst in 30 years

GM was the first of the major auto makers to report how tough it was to move new vehicles in August, recording a steep 24.9% drop in August vehicle sales. GM's decline was mostly in line with analysts' targets.

As GM moves toward a massive public offering, it posted sales of 185,176 cars and trucks, down from 246,479 a year ago. Excluding the brands that are no longer part of GM's future, sales fell 10.6% to 184,921 vehicles.

"Last year's Cash for Clunkers (CARS) program spiked industry sales in 2009, so results this August were not surprisingly a bit mixed," said Don Johnson, head of U.S. sales.

The rate is 18% lower than the 14.2 million recorded during last year's rebate program, which boosted purchases and made August one of the best sales months in 2009. In August 2009, the C4C promotion -- aimed at getting older, less fuel-efficient cars off the road in exchange for newer, more environmentally friendly models -- sparked big sales numbers, which are now skewing the year on year results.

Toyota Motor Corp. is expected to drop almost 30%. Last week, the company added 1.1 million Corolla and Matrix sedans to its recall woes, due to engine problems that could lead to unexpected stalls. When the industry's final numbers are tallied, the sales figure could prove to be the worst in almost three decades.

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