Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. on Wednesday (Sept. 3) posted August U.S. vehicle sales declines in excess of 20% as consumers continue to recoil from still-high gas prices and the housing slump.
Toyota Motor Corp. fared better, with its sales falling 9.4% to 211,533 cars and trucks. Nissan Motors bucked the trend with improved sales.
Ford sales dropped 26.6%, pulled down by a 32.3% in truck sales – with the flagship F-Series pickup, once the best-selling vehicle in the country, dropping 41.6%.
Ford, Lincoln and Mercury car sales fell 8.9% while crossovers dipped 1.3%.
Volvo, the lone remaining European luxury brand, saw sales retreat 48.8% to 4,669 vehicles. Earlier this week, Ford named a new chief executive at Volvo and reaffirmed its intention to keep the marque.
Overall, the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker sold 155,690 cars and trucks, down from 212,120 a year earlier.
“We expect the second half of 2008 will be more challenging than the first half, as weak economic conditions and the consumer-credit crunch continues,” said Jim Farley, vice president of Ford marketing and communications, in a statement.
Ford also cut its second-half production plans to 890,000 cars and trucks, down from a prior target of 940,000, citing lower sales to daily rental companies, the transfer of production from one plant to another and a lower sales outlook for the industry.
The company said that it sees industry vehicle sales for the year coming in at the low end of its range of 14 million to 14.5 million cars and trucks.
GM’s August U.S. sales fell 20.3% to 307,285 light vehicles as the automaker’s revival of the employee-pricing deals helped bring buyers to showrooms. GM also said that it will extend its promotion through Sept. 30 and add 2009 models to the sale due to “ongoing customer and dealer demand.”
Still, car sales slid 13.9% and light-truck sales fell 24.1%. But the results are facing a tough comparison with a strong showing in August 2007 and mark the best month so far this year.
“With the recent moderation in fuel prices, we’re seeing some relaxation of pent-up demand in pickups and utilities,” Mark LaNeve, head of GM sales and marketing, said.