Wow. Ford’s auto sales dropped 39% last month, compared to a year earlier. The company blamed diminished sales to rental fleets for the decline – which is either a very tepid excuse or a very revealing comment.
Truck sales dropped 5% overall, but F-150 sales were down 21% and Ford has also announced that it will suspend production of the Super Duty model for two weeks to trim inventory.
Sales to rental fleets were down 62%.
Ford sales have declined every month since October of last year.
But, not to worry, according to Ford’s spokesperson: "Under the circumstances the industry held up pretty well overall," according to George Pipas, Ford’s top sales analyst, speaking in a conference call with media and investors. "I think the industry parred a difficult hole in September."
Maybe, but Toyota sales dropped only 4% compared with the overall sales decline at Ford of 21%. At General Motors, sales were about the same as a year earlier, though the new Cadillac CTS outsold the old CTS of a year earlier by 73%. Even Chrysler did better than Ford, down only 5% and with all of that decline a consequence of cutting fleet sales. 

Chrysler’s retail sales actually increased over the year-earlier period, lead by an 18.8% increase in car sales. But sales of Dodge trucks were down 11.4% as buyers shunned the old Ford and Dodge trucks in favor of the newer GM and Toyota trucks. 
The bright spots for the car makers were the sales of the new models. As mentioned, the Cadillac CTS, buoyed by a $50 million ad budget, seems to be connecting with buyers. Honda, which has a new Accord, had a sales increase of 14% and Nissan, with a new Altima, was its sales up 11%. Sales of the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave remained strong and GM is anticipating that the new Chevrolet Malibu will continue the strong sales showing of the new GM models. At Toyota, the new Camry was 10% ahead of last year, and the Tundra – heavily supported by rebates – boosted its sales by 61% over the sales of the old model last year.
Ford did have one bright spot, though: Lincoln. Lincoln sales were up 32%, lead by the crossover MKX and new MKZ sedan.

Source: Reuters

Ralph Kalal
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