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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

October Auto Sales Worst Since At Least '92

Detroit automakers released their October auto sales figures today, and they are bad. Worse than Toyota, worse than Honda -- probably worse than a company trying to sell dirigibles and canal boats.

October GM sales were down 47 percent compared to October 2007.

Ford reported October sales plummeted 30 percent.

The third October sales shoe dropped this afternoon, with Chrysler reporting sales were down 36 percent during the past month.

Sales of GM trucks and SUVs were down 53 percent. GM has depended on trucks and SUVs for the bulk of their profits.

Shares of GM closed down 2.4 percent at $5.65.

Shares of Ford closed down 2.7 percent at $2.13.

Chrysler is privately held.

The Detroit October decline represents, by some lights, the worst sales month since 1992. Other auto analysts say, no, it's actually the worst month since the Reagan administration.

These disturbing results may pave the way for an industry-wide federal bailout of the auto sector -- not just a little help making the GM-Chrysler merger happen -- but help to suppliers, dealers, everyone that's getting hurt by the economic contraction.

Remember -- the Big Three (misnomer these days) already want another $25 billion in direct federal loans in addition to the $25 billion that was approved last month.

They're in a cash-burn crisis right now -- the $25 billion may not arrive until January. And the Big Three will be in much better shape in 2010, when union give-backs kick in and GM, for instance, can shave $4,000 off the cost of producing every new car. But it's a real question now whether they will make it to 2010.

Here's a good state-of-the-auto-industry sum-up written by, um, us.

-- Frank Ahrens

By Frank Ahrens  |  November 3, 2008; 5:09 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  
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Next: Taxes: No Laffing Matter


This story, along with Ford, should be on the front page.

The WaPo Gestapo is using the election as an excuse to bury bad news about the economy.

The WaPo has been a big Chimpy supporter and is embarassed at the failure of Chimpynomics.

Posted by: TomIII | November 3, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Don't expect Chrysler to do much better.

Chrysler also is stuck with big fat gashog SUVs and trucks.

They only have ONE four-cylinder car now, the Caliber, and it is butt-ugly.

Chrysler should have kept building Neons.

Posted by: TomIII | November 3, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry, things will pick up for the Big Three.

Americans are idiots and will start buying big gashog SUVs and trucks again because the price of gasoline dropped a buck.

Never mind that it will be back up again soon enough. We are at Peak Oil and the days of cheap gasoline are over.

Posted by: TomIII | November 3, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

These companies have had plenty of warning to change the way they do business but they continue to stumble down the same path.

Regardless of the economic times, GM and Ford have continued to make cars that can not compete with Toyota or Honda.

And their new 2009 releases of SUV and/or Pickups have not changed to meet better fuel standards.

Posted by: ssanford00 | November 3, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

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