Ford / Toyota Boost Production, BMW Sees a Bottom - Auto Sales Have Bottomed - Month 2, Post 2
Last month I made the call that U.S. auto sales had hit a bottom and that they would not fall lower than 9.5 million to 10 million units for all of 2009. Today I came across additional evidence that this is exactly what is happening.
Yes, sales will be down at General Motors and Chrysler, but their competitors are taking advantage of the situation and they are filling in the gap by selling more of their vehicles.
Ford watches rivals in turmoil, raises production - Ford recently announced that its Q2 '09 light vehicle production would be higher than its production in Q1 '09 and that its Q3 '09 production would be higher than it was during the same period a year ago.
Ford said it would increase its previous second-quarter production plan by 10,000 vehicles to 445,000 mainly in crossovers and pickup trucks. That still ranks 35 percent below Ford's production of 685,000 in the second quarter of 2008.
Ford said it planned to build 460,000 vehicles in North America in the third quarter, up about 10 percent from a year earlier, when it built 418,000 vehicles.
Toyota sees turnaround, boosts U.S. ouptput - The headline number in terms of a year-over-year percent change for Toyota was terrible in May, down nearly 40%. However, this number is very misleading because Toyota picked up a significant amount of market share with its small vehicles when gas prices spiked in 2008. The difficult comps for Toyota make its sales results look worse than they really were. Toyota's May sales were actually up 21% versus April. This represents a much larger increase than one normally sees between these two months on a seasonal basis. In fact, after backing out fleet sales, pure retail sales were up 25% m-o-m at Toyota.
Toyota will ramp up production of six of its best-selling models over the next three months.
"We see a turnaround coming," Bob Carter, general manager of Toyota Division, said during a conference call Tuesday.
North American production will increase by 65,000 units over the previous plan for the three-month period as Toyota boosts output of its Camry, Corolla, Sienna, RAV4, Tacoma and Tundra models, Carter said. Toyota's North American total production in June, July and August of 2008 was 349,835 units, including Lexus models.
..."We may be witnessing a slight rebound in the industry," he said.
As someone who works in the industry, a ton of stuff comes across my desk. Someone recenty forwarded me an internal sales bulletin from BMW. The following quote from it is very encouraging:
The sales results for May point towards growing optimism that consumers are beginning to return to the new vehicle sales marketplace. The natural sales rate has increased, the sold order pipeline is filling and daily credit application volume is healthy. The plan for June is to build on this momentum...
Hyundai urges passage of cash-for-guzzlers bill - Sales are bottoming on their own. Any massive government purchases of new vehicles or a cash for clunkers aka cash for trash program would boost sales even more.
Hyundai Motor America is urging Congress to quickly pass the cash-for-guzzlers bill that would provide cash payments to consumers who trade in older, less fuel efficient vehicles for newer ones that provide higher gas mileage.
According to a survey released by the Korean automaker today, 11 percent of potential car buyers are delaying their purchases until the legislation is passed or defeated.
Hyundai says this represents as many as 100,000 lost sales each month over the summer selling period...
The bill most likely for a full vote would offers customers $3,500 vouchers if they trade in cars that get less than 18 mpg for new vehicles that get at least 22 mpg. Vouchers of $4,500 would be awarded if the new cars get at least 10 mpg more than the old.
The vouchers would be awarded to up to 1 million customers at a cost to the government of $3.5 billion to $4.5 billion. The new cars to be purchased could be assembled anywhere in the world.
A Senate vote on the bill could take place as early as this week. On Monday, President Barack Obama encouraged lawmakers to pass the measure.