Post-Clunkers numbers for automakers are dismal
Of course, everyone saw this coming. No one expects the day after Black Friday -- the biggest retail shopping day of the year -- to live up to its predecessor; likewise, everyone in the market for a new car was going to buy it while the government was handing out rebates and dealers were blanketing the marketplace with come-ons and incentives. But the hope, of course, was that Clunkers would be a kick start, not a one-time spending frenzy. And yet the numbers don't lie (subscription-only article): GM and Chrysler Group dropped 40 percent, American Honda 20 percent, Toyota and Ford 13 and 5 percent, respectively.
There weren't drops across the board, though; intriguingly, there was an odd, high-low mix of winners. Hyundai-Kia Group, as we reported earlier, was the biggest winner, with a massive 26 percent gain -- its third sales increase in as many months. But high-end names such as BMW Group (4 percent) and even Porsche (8 percent) both saw sales upticks.
The article points out that there are many reasons why year-over-year figures may not prove quite as bad (the collapse of Lehman Brothers last year kicked off the global financial meltdown, and we're certainly better off now than we were then, if only marginally), but when all is said and done, parsing the numbers for a slightly rosier outlook won't do anyone much good. As Lawrence asked in his piece, linked above, if everyone went so crazy for a government rebate program, what's stopping automakers from devising a rebate plan of their own?
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