Chrysler, Ford, GM report double-digit drops for 2009

January 5, 2010

http://detnews.com/article/20100105/AUTO01/1050403

 

 

Chrysler, Ford, GM report double-digit drops for 2009

 

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Detroit News staff and wire reports

Detroit

General Motors reported sales of 2.08 million vehicles in 2009, off 30 percent from the previous year. Its December sales were down 6 percent from the previous month.

"The year-over-year comparison reflects a 38 percent reduction in fleet, reduced overall incentive spending and the orderly wind-down of the Pontiac and Saturn brands," said Susan Docherty, GM vice president, U.S. sales.

Chrysler had its worst sales year in 47 years in 2009.

The automaker sold just over 931,000 cars and trucks last year. Sales last dropped below 1 million in 1962.

The struggling automaker says its sales fell 36 percent from 2008 as the company received government aid and worked through bankruptcy protection.

But spokeswoman Kathy Graham says sales improved over November under Chrysler’s plans to show steady progress each month.

Still, there were signs of progress. Ford ended the year with a bang, with December sales up 33 percent. The automaker says it gained U.S. market share for the year for the first time since 1995.

But Ford reported sales of 1.68 million vehicles in 2009, a 15.4 percent decrease from the previous year.

Japanese automaker Nissan reported an 18 percent rise in December sales from the same month a year earlier, thanks to higher sales of its Versa compact car. But for the year, sales dropped 19 percent. Subaru of America Inc. said 2009 sales rose 15 percent, and December sales climbed 33 percent, ending a year the company said was its best ever for sales and market share.

Toyota reported sales of 1.55 million vehicles in 2009, a 21 percent decrease from 2008. However, its December sales were up 34 percent over the previous month.

The auto industry underwent a radical transformation in 2009, one of the most turmoil-filled years in its more than 100-year history.

Chrysler and General Motors, which both filed for bankruptcy protection after nearly collapsing, are still suffering as they struggle to revive sales and pay back huge government loans. Ford has been a relative bright spot, but also needs sales to pick up this year.

Total U.S. auto sales, reported later Tuesday, are expected to drop to levels not seen for three decades. Joblessness climbed higher than 10 percent, and buyers stayed away from showrooms, worried that automakers like GM and Chrysler might not survive. The last time sales were so low was in 1982, when 10.5 million cars were sold during another deep recession.

Last summer, the government’s "cash for clunkers" program eased the pain by reviving sales with $2.85 billion in government-backed rebates. Americans responded, buying nearly 700,000 vehicles. But for the most part, 2009 was a dismal year for new vehicles.

Meanwhile, China surpassed the United States as the largest auto market, with sales expected to top 12 million in 2009. Asian manufacturers like Hyundai surged by selling more affordable cars, though stalwart Toyota stumbled on factors like its biggest U.S. recall ever over accelerator problems.

Japan’s auto sales were equally poor last year. Sales declined to the lowest level in 38 years, to 2.9 million vehicles. But Germany, another major auto producer, said that car exports were up in the quarter and year as the effects of the economic downturn eased.

— Big automakers are glad to see the end of 2009, the worst year for U.S. sales in nearly 30 years.

 

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