February auto sales - hold on to your hats
Well, manufacturers are scheduled to report their U.S. auto sales for February 2009 (or lack there of) today. I'm not sure what analysts' consensus estimate is for Feb. sales, but most of the articles that I have seen indicate that they are looking for sales to be around the same as they were in January.
Unfortunately, having spoken with a number of people in the industry I have a feeling that the -37% that we saw in January is a too optimistic. I suspect that there is a very good chance that auto sales were at least -45% in the U.S. last month. I have a very solid contact at a major Big 3 Japanese automaker who said that sales were off 55% at their company in Feb.
I'll let you all know how things turn out. I'm hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.
In other auto-related news, As bad as things are for auto sales in the U.S. right now, they aren't much better in Japan. Japanese auto sales experienced their largest monthly drop since 1974 in February, down 32.4% year-over-year. This represents the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year sales declines in the country. The slowdown in Japan seems to be accelerating, sales were "only" off 27.9% in January. Japanese auto sales have been on a steady decline since 1990.
Japan auto sales plunge in February