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Big Three Bloodbath: Chrysler Down 55 Pct., GM Down 51 Pct., Ford Down 39 Pct. In January


It was a terrible month for all automakers but especially for Detroit's Big Three, which saw sales drop by an average of nearly 50 percent compared to January 2008.

Chrysler was the grim "winner," watching sales drop 55 percent compared to last January.

Sales of Chrysler cars dropped 64 percent, according to Autodata. The company simply can no longer make a passenger car anyone wants to buy, it seems.

General Motors's January sales were down a staggering 51 percent compared to January 2008 and Ford sales plummeted 39 percent.

Almost all automakers continued to struggle with a global recession: Toytota's January sales dove 32 percent, while Honda's were down 30 percent.

The bright spots: Light-selling Subaru, which saw an 8-percent sales bump in January, Hyundai, up 14 percent, which is offering to take back newly sold vehicles for no charge if buyers lose their jobs, and Kia, up 4 percent.

GM's sales were driven downward by a 80-percent decline in fleet sales, added to a 38-percent drop in sales to consumers.

Ford sales to individual customers in January were down 27 percent while fleet sales plummeted 65 percent, to arrive at the 39-percent drop, the company said.

Ford said its January sales were in-line with its assumptions.

Ford sold 93,060 cars, small trucks and SUVs in January, compared with 155,832 in the same month of 2008. Toyota sold 117,287 vehicles, down from 171,849.

The January report for other automakers:

-- Volkswagen was down 12 percent.

-- Porsche was down 36 percent.

-- Daimler was down 36 percent.

-- Mazda was down 27 percent.

-- Audi was down 26 percent.

-- Mitsubishi was down 35 percent.

Ford is the only Big Three automaker that has said it doesn't need federal bailout money -- yet. If sales conditions deteriorate to a "worst case" scenario, chief executive Alan Mulally has said, the automaker may need to tap the federal aid.

For January, Ford sold 90,596 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles, putting it on a pace to sell 1.09 million vehicles in 2009.

By comparison, Ford, Lincoln and Mercury sold 1.78 million vehicles last year. Of course, sales vary by month.

-- Frank Ahrens
The Ticker is Twittering!

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 3, 2009; 12:26 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chrysler, Detroit bailout, Ford, GM, Toyota, automakers  
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Hopefully the posted was updated with numbers from SubAru, the auto division of Fuji Heavy Industries, and not SubUru...which as far as I can tell, does not exist, despite occurring multiple times in this post

Posted by: GreenHawkIA | February 3, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Take 100 bn or so out of the TARP fund and buy every houshold in the country a hybrid from domestic auto makers. Split it according to their market share in 2007. You could even include some lesser degree from companies like Toyota IF the cars are made in the US.

Posted by: John1263 | February 3, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

It's discouraging to see our economy dwindle, and sales drop down in practically everything. However, people in impoverished countries around the world are feeling the effects of this drastic financial crisis even harder than we are. The number of people going hungry each day is increasing at a steady rate as food prices rise. We have the capability to do something about it. Learn more at the Borgen Project website,

Posted by: alenka | February 3, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I believe the article shows two different problems that may underlie the situation. The first is the thought that the billions put into the banking industry would free-up credit. Those billions only amount to first aid.

We might have gotten better results had our triage been done more by economics than politics. That said, the bandages have been applied. However, DO NOT EVEN THINK about throwing good money away after bad. Time will heal; politicians will make it worse.

If you don't believe me, look at their backgrounds. They're mostly lawyers. I don't want a bunch of lawyers fooling around with the economy. Let them stick to things that don't actually screw me over on a daily basis.

The second problem I have with the article is that it doesn't address the lack of the auto industry to provide value for our dollar. For many years, their business model has been top-down, consumer-driven. They don't worry about what the median population needs. They build for the big dollars and and people who are willing to take on the debt to make them look like they have big dollars; let the others buy the used cars. Now that their targeted market is shrinking, some of them have cried for our help.

The result is the same as with the banking industry. The money we spend will never provide what we expect. They have to solve their own problems first. Those on the Hill don't have the background or the backbone to see that happen first.

Lawyers are not economists. But when they get elected, somehow they think they are. Do they not realize that they don't graduate on to being something more by their election, but they are demoted to being something less, tied to the next election and the money and clout needed to win it.

Posted by: juggernautenterprises | February 3, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Well, I can tell you part of Ford's problem. This weekend, my spouse and I went into a Ford dealership to buy a fairly expensive vehicle. We put down a sizable deposit and have combined income well in the six figures, extremely stable jobs, credit scores over 750, no major debt other than the mortgage and a student loan (our other car is paid off), pay off our credit cards in full every month. We own our own home and have never been late with a mortgage payment, in fact we have never been late with a single payment on anything the whole time we have been married including the payments on the other car. We were offered a decent, not great, rate because the car we wanted was not eligible for their best offer.

Two days later the dealership called and said we were not eligible for that rate either because my spouse's perfect credit "only" stretches back four years (of course, two years ago we got top-tier rates on our mortgage when his credit only stretched back *two* years and our income was less). Before that he lived in another country where he had perfect credit since the age of 18. I was given the choice of a much higher rate or buying the car without him.

I know banks are stricter about lending lately, but if people who are as credit-worthy as us can't get a decent rate on a car loan, auto manufacturers should not be surprised by plummeting sales.

Posted by: bluebutterfliesgirl | February 3, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Take 100 bn or so out of the TARP fund and buy every houshold in the country a hybrid from domestic auto makers. Split it according to their market share in 2007. You could even include some lesser degree from companies like Toyota IF the cars are made in the US.

Posted by: John1263 | February 3, 2009 2:21 PM

At $25,000 a pop, $100 billion buys 4 million vehicles. Now, what about the other 90 million households?

Posted by: infuse | February 3, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Credit, credit who has the credit? Banks have plenty of credit, but they aren't giving it up. Banks are hoarding cash these days. WE THE PEOPLE made our big bet on banks, we forked over huge bags of cash, hoping and praying, those banks might make a loan, extend credit, help folks in need. Personally, I strongly endorse my credit union. Credit unions are focused on serving their membership. Banks have become corrupted, unregulated, and risky investors. Sub-primes and derivatives don't work in the Credit Union's portfolio.

Posted by: rmorris391 | February 3, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

It's just a matter of time before GM and Chrysler come to Washington carrying their tin cups again. The big 3 are going under, I doubt if they can even pay their electricity bills on those returns. And the months ahead look no different. The American car manufacturing industry has failed largely on the basis of their own mistakes, so let them dissolve. What this nation needs is a few new, skill based ways to make money. The old manufacturing model is dead.

Posted by: ButchDillon | February 3, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

While it bodes difficult times ahead, it's actually a more true representation of how we should be living. Too much and too easy consumer credit. I propose a moratorium on consumer credit(anything not a primary residence) for 25 years and instead of bailing out business, bail out the entire population over 18 years of age. I'm calling for $1million per person with the requirement that they pay off all debt before being able to do anything else with any of the money. Afterwards, reward every student who continues to college with $250,000 for every year they attend college/university, up to six years. This is a much cheaper fix than any proposed so far and stopping consumer debt for 25 years would retrain us to a pay as we go society. Would it suck? Probably, since we're so used to instant gratification. Would it be the right thing to do? Yes, because consumer credit is what got us into this mess in the first place. Will we do it. No, banks have too much control of politics and there are too many babies in this society to have the guts to do it.

Good night and good luck.

Posted by: khan0000 | February 3, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Since our nation was attacked on 9/11, anyone with a clue knew that the key to weaning ourselves off oil and off war in the Middle East was moving the Big 3 automakers toward fuel-efficient and green technology. What did these morons do? They sold SUVs the size of boats. Be patriotic. Be moral. Do us a favor and sell us a vehicle that doesn't run on oil or bury your companies for good.

Posted by: medogsbstfrnd | February 3, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

It's somewhat hard for the car companies to halt the down-spiraling if the people that want to buy cars are either loosing their jobs or not able to get a loan because they have a blemish on their credit and the banks/finance companies are squeezing tighter on their dollars. It's a snowball effect that has to stop! The sun has to come out in a hurry.

Posted by: burnie4241 | February 3, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Why did the bailout money not go into $5000 coupons good for 6 months that allow redemption on purchase of any American built car. That would get the inventories rolling.

Posted by: copleston1 | February 3, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Please notice the fine print on the Hyundai ad, which not a single reporter in American has gotten right. It does say you get to bring it back if you lose your job, rather if you lose your income. So, if you had some other form of income, pension, etc., you would still have income.

Posted by: Getitright4 | February 3, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I have been predicting for years that the Big 3 would eventually all go bankrupt and disappear from the face of the earth. I think we are just witnessing their slow death spirals.

Posted by: jackrussell252521 | February 3, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Antonio Ivan Easterling
The Proletarian Review

The Network of the Proletarian-Republicanism and the Advancement of the Global Business Revolution

The News and Conscious of the Global Workforce

Reporting live from Starbucks in Huntington Park, California on Slauson Avenue

Topic: The 1 Detroit Concept

1. For the best interest of our nation, it is time for General Motors, Ford and Chrysler to merge into one global corporation to do battle with Toyota. Pooling assets and resources would give the American automakers the muscle to fight back, and win back the Bedrock of our economy, producing automobiles. The ressurection of an industry, and an our nation depends on the business savy, ingenuity and purpose of Detroit.
2. The 1 Detroit concept would lead our business community in the New Generation Economy (NGE) of micro-economies, and winning back markets, thus, winning jobs for the people of this nation. For America to win in the globalized world of economies, we must develop a spirit of competition. Competition is the core of globalization. Therefore, a fully-armed auto industry is the motive for our national recovery. Let General Motors, Ford and Chrysler set-a-side all differences to spearhead the re-engineering of a motorized vehicle which goes 100 miles-per-gallon on a tank of gas. This directive is the same as the space race challenge of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and the battlecry of President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, Detroit your mission is clear, you must build a automobile that will reduce fuel consumption and keep the air clean to gain market share with Toyota. America is ready the green energy market. Further, with the merge, the saying of whats good for General Motors is good for America will sweep this nation with great anticipation.

Antonio Ivan Easterling spends his respects
from Huntington Park, California
The Proletarian Review

Posted by: sterlinggo1 | February 3, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I always thought that the idea was to create a vehicle that could last over 10 years and over 100 thousand miles. Well that's what I have now, and I see no reason to trade it in for something new! I don't have to pay anything everymonth like I would if I bought new. The technology making cars run better, farther, and more ecological has not be proven to me, so there is no reason to trade in for that either, which coincedentally would be my main reason to trade in. As I see it, i'll save my money and wait for eco cars to be more thouroughly put through the tests and then i'll get a new car. Until then, I am going to not make our car graveyards any bigger then they already are. Did the car companies ,not to mention so many other companies, really believe that people were going to continue upgrading their lives every year!? I know that they do, and now that most people have stopped, or have been forced to stop, shopping, all the figures that they have are really really wrong. It's tough knowing that because I don't feel the need to buy anything new, my neighbors are losing their jobs. What do you do with a world that is over populated and doesn't have enough jobs to go around? I have had this conversation with others, they say bring manufacturing back to the USA. I agree, but I can't help pointing out the fact that those other countries would lose employment for their workers. I usually get the, so what, type of attitude. In reality though, the world is small. In fact, today if I wanted to look for a job in any other part of the world, I could do that easily. I could sell all my belonging and go where work is. This is the way the world will be in the future! I always wonder, and hope, for a united people of earth type of world. Different governing bodies for sure, but united as one and working towards one goal, preservation of everything and us too!

Posted by: ai3di | February 3, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious when Frank Ahearns jumped from Radio Critic to news reporter. I feel it's the equivalent of asking Paris Hilton to do brain surgery.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | February 3, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

As the price of gas rose, the cost of food, and other necessary items went with it, and as always they added on a few percent for them self.And when totaled the sum of all put a large increase on the cost of living. The end result is we drive less, and buy less, and our newly formed habits are hard to break. My parents were married in the 30s depression, they lived into the 90s and never got out of the depression.

Posted by: dv1236 | February 3, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone driven a Ford lately?

Posted by: H5N1 | February 3, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Buying every household a hybrid would cost nearly 2 trillion dollars. The American hybrids are also garbage that get roughly the same gas mileage as the average small vehicle produced in 1992. Not exactly stellar performance. Lastly, it would do little if anything to fix the larger economic problems.

A smarter idea would be to use part of the 800 billion stimulus package to build trains, subways, solar panels, wind turbines, and underwater current turbines. The automakers could get first dibs on contracts to manufacture the hardware. This would give a jolt to their bottom line, and allow them to hire back unemployed factory workers.

The construction industry would be revitalized with installation of the equipment. The government would have ownership of new European style mass transit, and new power sources that could be sold to power companies throughout the country. This would decrease current and future dependence on foreign energy sources, create jobs, thereby stimulating the economy and preventing many credit delinquencies that are dragging down the banks. It would also update a pathetic public transportation system, allowing the US to regain a competitive edge against their industrialized counterparts.

That's my not so humble opinion.

Posted by: apissedant | February 3, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I am very angry at the GOP lawmakers who are blocking the Stimulus Package from getting to President Obama’s desk at the White House. But I will single out Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and John Boehner (R-Ohio) as the 2 chief politicians to receive American electorate wrath for the economic mess in this country.

As we have learned today, every automaker around the world, not just the domestic ones, is announcing catastrophic sales figures which are an omen of substantial jobs sacrifices in the very near future. Yet, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner oppose any government-led efforts to create jobs in the Keynesian tradition in times of Recession. These guys are strictly students of Hebert Hoover (more about this later) who believes that government is not the solution but the problem. Accordingly, these guys believe in the same-old and same-old failing tax-cut policies of the Bush Era. They believe in the carrot-and-stick strategy in pulling this economy out of its doldrums; the problem is the economy is now an exhausted or a dead horse. Nothing can lure it into moving again.

We have tried huge tax cuts back in 2001 and 2003; a few months ago, we have poured billions of dollars into Wall Street without any effect. Today, McConnell and Boehner offer an alternative stimulus package written by the US Chamber of Commerce which consists mostly of tax cuts for small business and tax credit for wealthy home buyers. McConnell and Boehner have not consulted with automaker executives and union representatives in their home state in the drafting of this plan. And the unanimous opinion of the GOP lawmakers’ plan is nothing but a worthless band-aid in stopping jobs hemorrhage in America. We need the government to intervene to create jobs and to make public investment in critical sectors now (more about this later).

Posted by: mnguyen4 | February 3, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I not only took advantage of Hyundai's offer but took it a step further: since I had already lost my job I didn't bother to pick the car up and return it, but simply left it at the dealership. :)

Posted by: roblimo | February 3, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

This isn't clear unless you do the math, but VW finished 4th, ahead of Nissan, Toyota, Mazda, etc. Isn't it worth noting that straight out? The top European finisher in sales movement and the maker of some mighty fine vehicles. I think this needs to be plainer.

Posted by: maaron1201 | February 3, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Americans are waiting for the fleet per family that car makers robbed our wallets for, in the last bailout.
Bass ackwards methodology,gets the result it deserves.
About 50% of what we earn is taken by taxes....stop that action, so we can buy a new car.

What did anyone expect?
People who pay well and on time, are gouged by mafia banks and penalized for paying with unfounded bumps in interest.

Who wants to borrow anymore?

Auto makers should not be lobbying for more money, they should be lobbying for banking rules for federal banks.

Americans said no on the first bailout.
No to this one too.

Posted by: dottydo | February 3, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Here is an idea to get the economy going again. Offer a green card for every illegal alien with the purchase of a Big 3 automobile! That'll really stimulate things!

Posted by: snicktoo | February 3, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

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