Automakers welcomed a 28 percent drop in US auto sales last month as a sign that the badly hit industry was stabilizing and expressed hope on Wednesday that a government-funded “cash for clunkers” program would drive vehicle sales this month.
This was the first times sales had fallen by less than 30 percent since the market crashed last September, according to Autodata.
Nonetheless, last month’s seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 9.69 million vehicles was weaker than the May rate of 9.91 million vehicles and sharply below the 13.69 million rate posted in June last year.
Total sales for the first half of the year were down 35.1 percent at 4.8 million vehicles, Autodata said.
Ford was the clear winner, expanding its market share for the sixth straight month to 17.2 percent, compared with 14 percent in June last year. Sales were down just 11 percent in June at 155,195 vehicles.
“We’re making steady progress and are firmly focused on our plan to build a sustainable and exciting Ford,” Jim Farley, Ford vice president for marketing and communications, said in a statement.
“We remain grounded, however, given challenging industry and economic conditions,” he said.
Ford has benefited from the uncertainty surrounding rivals General Motors (GM) and Chrysler, which requested billions of dollars in emergency government loans last fall and were eventually forced to seek bankruptcy protection.
Chrysler, which emerged from bankruptcy protection on June 10 by selling its assets to a new company run by Italy’s Fiat, saw its sales fall 42 percent last month to 68,297 units.
GM, which sought bankruptcy protection on June 1 and is hoping to emerge as a new, leaner company in the coming weeks, posted a 34 percent drop in sales last month to 176,571 vehicles.
Its total market share fell to 20.2 percent from 20.5 percent in May and 21.9 percent in June last year, Autodata said.
Japan’s Toyota saw its market share fall to 15.3 percent last month from 16.2 percent a year earlier as sales dropped 35 percent to 131,654 vehicles.
Honda saw its share slip by 0.3 percentage points to 11.7 percent as sales fell 30 percent to 100,420 last month, while Nissan managed to gain 0.4 percentage points to 6.8 percent share as sales fell 23 percent to 58,298. South Korea’s Hyundai continued to post gains, with a 0.2 percentage points gain in market share to 4.4 percent.