OMG you know it's a new year if I'm actually posting up good news...well, good for Subaru anyway. Special thanks to khopswrx07 for PMing me the story...
"Ford sales fall 32%; VW, Daimler also drop
January 5, 2009 - 12:51 pm ET
Ford Motor Co. posted a 32 percent decline in December sales as the U.S. auto industry capped its worst year since the early 1990s.
Ford's drop was its 23rd in the past 24 months. The Volkswagen brand was down 14.4 percent, and Daimler AG plunged 23.5 percent. Subaru of America, the only other automaker to report by midday, slipped 7.7 percent.
Ford's results bolster analysts' forecasts for an industrywide fall of more than one-third. That would be the fourth straight monthly tumble of more than 25 percent, amid the longest U.S. recession since the early 1980s and a national debate over whether the federal government should rescue Chrysler LLC and General Motors.
"No one wants to buy anything," Jesse Toprak, Edmunds.com's executive director of industry analysis, said in an interview before today's figures were released.
A December decline would be the 18th for the industry in the past 19 months .
Lowest sales since 1992
Analysts forecast that December demand would plunge to a new low for the year, to about 10 million units on a seasonally adjusted basis. The annual sales rate, which dropped to 10.3 million in November, has not fallen below 10 million since August 1982.
A December sales decline of 35 percent will put total 2008 light-vehicle sales at 13.2 million in the United States, analysts said. That total would be the lowest since 1992. The 2007 total was 16.2 million.
Sales dropped during the month as President George W. Bush approved $17.4 billion in federal loans on Dec. 19 to GM and Chrysler. The automakers lost their bid to receive the loans from new legislation when the bill died a week earlier in the U.S. Senate.
Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department also allocated $6 billion to GM's affiliated lender, GMAC Financial Services. That move spurred GM and GMAC to expand auto lending and incentive programs for the last sales days of the month.
GM and Chrysler will report larger declines than Ford, since Ford did not seek immediate federal aid, said Toprak. Ford, which borrowed more than $23 billion in 2006, still seeks a $9 billion credit line if the economic downturn lasts longer than it expects.
"If you wanted to buy a new car in December, Ford seemed to be a safer choice than GM and Chrysler," Toprak said.
The only other time the U.S. auto industry has seen a similar 3 million unit plunge over a single year was during 1974 in the wake of the first oil shock, Ford's chief sales analyst, George Pipas, told reporters Friday, Jan. 2.
"The sales rates have declined like a lead balloon," Pipas said. "We're not looking for the first quarter to be much different from what we saw in the fourth quarter." Ford's sales for the year dropped 20.7 percent.
Subaru's 7.7 percent December drop allowed it to finish just ahead of its 2007 total. Through November, Subaru and Daimler were the only two major automakers to be ahead of the previous year's sales pace. Daimler wasn't able to hold on; its Smart and Mercedes brands finished the year down 1.5 percent."