Cash for Clunkers was great for domestic auto sales, right?
During the life of the promotion, yes, sales moved along at a brisk pace. But then September came and reality set in again. Check out these sales numbers for September compared with September 2008: General Motors was down 45 percent, and Chrysler was down 42.1 percent, while Ford dropped just 5.1 percent. (By the way, Hyundai was the automaker with the highest increase in sales, with a surge of 27 percent.)
More important than Ford’s small drop in sales is the company’s increase in market share, which jumped from 12.5 to 15.3 percent, partly due to the success of the new Ford Taurus.
Ford also hopes to gain market share in India, where it has invested $500 million in building a new plant in Chennai capable of producing 200,000 cars per year. The all-new Ford Figo will roll off the lines there to compete with the Tata Nano. The Figo won’t make any stateside appearances, but we’re okay with that, because we get an all-new Fiesta.
As Ford climbs the sales charts and aims for dominance, GM is still limping. First came the news that the company put an end to its much-hyped eBay program after a brief test stint in California. The program was supposed to launch nationwide, but evidently GM execs noticed that no one really cared. We saw that coming.
Then came Roger Penske’s pump fake on buying Saturn. Instead of throwing the touchdown pass Saturn fans (and dealers) hoped for, Penske panicked and took a sack, leaving Saturn to wither and die. GM has already halted production on Saturns and expects to sell out within 4 months. Better get yourself a Outlook or a Sky while you can!
Then there was Chrysler… holy smokes what a mess. Looking at the big picture, the future is pretty bright for the Pentastar. New owner Fiat has great plans, but Chrysler has to survive with its own products for two years before those plans take effect.
Part of the strategy is to split the Dodge brand in two, with Ram becoming its own brand and Dodge focusing on affordable sports cars. It’s a shakeup that involves reshuffling top management to inject more Fiat blood into the Chrysler family. The full details of those changes are here.
Are you rooting for the home-team automakers or looking overseas for your car fix?