01 November 2005

American Cars

The October numbers clearly show that Americans don't want to buy American cars unless they have steep discounts. With the end of employee pricing:

General Motors, the world's biggest automaker, said car sales fell 12 percent and truck sales 30 percent. . . .

Ford said its car sales fell 11 percent to 67,958 units, while the truck side fell 31 percent to 131,889. . . .

DaimlerChrysler sales were not as bad, but still fell three percent to 183,163 cars and trucks.

In contrast, Honda and Toyota saw growing sales. It is also notable that the most succesful lines in the Big Three were brands which, until recently, were not American brands:

For October, British-based Land Rover was the only Ford brand showing year-over-year increases, up 40.2 percent to 3,753 vehicles.

Land Rover sales have increased 32.7 percent this year while another British subsidiary, Jaguar, has seen sales fall 33.5 percent.

DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz group helped buck the trend. The first full month of sales for its R-Class vehicles brought a slight gain to 18,349 vehicles sold, up from 18,323 a year ago.

Until the American automobile industry can make better cars it will continue to be in trouble.

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