Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Detroit Death March Continues

From the WSJ:

U.S. auto sales continued their slide in August despite stepped-up incentives to buyers, with Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. posting a 9.4% decline and Ford Motor Co. reporting a 27% drop.

The big problem for Toyota is they started to sell the SUV styled vehicles in the US -- the Tundra etc... Now they are in partially the same boat as other US car companies. As consumers start to actually think about fuel economy, Toyota's sales will take a hit.

Toyota, which is battling General Motors Corp. for the crown of the world's best-selling auto maker, said passenger car sales fell 4.3% to 129,622 while SUV sales dropped 25%. Toyota division sales fell 9.4% and Lexus recorded a 9.1% decline.

Let's add these numbers from Ford:

Ford truck and van sales fell 39% to 54,565 with SUV sales plummeting 53% and F-series truck sales tumbling 42%. Weak truck and SUV sales recently led Ford to push back the launch of its redesigned F-150 pickup truck that once was expected to drive the company's recovery.

Things are not looking that good, are they?

And let's add to the stupidity:

GM on Wednesday said it will extend its Employee-Discount-For-Everyone deals through the end of September, citing a strong response to the incentive program. GM is extending its employee discount incentive deals, hoping to lift sagging customer demand for its trucks and SUVs.

GM launched the deals on about a half-dozen 2009 models and most 2008 models in the middle of August to boost sagging demand for trucks and SUVs. For September, GM will increased the number of 2009 models carrying the discounts to 80% of the portfolio, GM spokesman John McDonald said.

Of course they're seeing a strong response: they're basically giving cars away. At a time when they need to demonstrate they can make money, they are showing nothing more then their ability to lose money.

Let's take a look at four charts to show the difference between these companies. First here are Ford's and GM's 10-year charts, respectively:



Anyone see a pattern?

Let's compare to the Japanese car companies:


Toyota is getting hammered, but they also had an impressive performance over the last few years to fall from.


And Honda is looking really good.

The market is sending a clear message about the car companies: Detroit should go bankrupt while Japan should continue.