How did major automobile maker's sales in February 2010 compare to those in February 2009, the bottom of the market?
Kia Sales up
Honda Sales up
Chrysler up less than 0.5%
For Ford: "Ford brand sales up 46 percent versus year ago, Lincoln up 19 percent and Mercury up 24 percent Cars up 54 percent versus year ago, utilities up 39 percent and trucks up 36 percent. Ford's U.S. market share for February estimated at 17 percent, up 3 percentage points versus a year ago."
At GM the numbers are even better when abandoned brands are disregarded: "GM's sales of its Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC brands climbed 32 percent. GM plans to keep those four brands and is phasing out Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer. It has sold Saab."
Corporate fleet sales were key to improved performance for Ford and GM: "Retail sales for GM's four core brands edged up 7 percent. Ford had expected sales to climb from last February, when U.S. sales plummeted in the midst of the recession. Its car sales climbed 54 percent as consumers continued to shop for more fuel-efficient vehicles. Like GM, Ford saw renewed demand from corporate fleet customers, which are buying again after weak sales in 2009. Ford's fleet sales surged 74 percent over February of last year, while GM's jumped 114 percent."
Within Chrysler: "car sales which rose 38% to 25,884. . . truck sales slumped 10% to 58,565." It doesn't appear that Chrysler has seen the fleet sales rebounds that Ford and GM have experienced. Chrysler seems on track to slowly fade away to nothing. The decade long trend for Chrysler sales is as follows:
2003 2,127,451 ▼3.5%
The 2009 sales at Chrysler were down 59.6% from 2005 and down 66.7% from 1999.
So far (January-February) in 2010, Chrysler's sales are down compared to year to date through February 2009, despite the fact that this was Chrysler's worst year ever.
Equally troubling, despite its partnership with Fiat and ability to shed legacy debt in its bankruptcy, Chrysler doesn't seem to have nearly as solid a plan as GM does to take bold moves that could turn it around. The future doesn't look bright for its 58,000 employees.