Car sales return to pre-clunker slump

October 1, 2009

U.S. auto sales fell back to earth in September with the end of the federal rebate program designed to spur sales and push fuel efficiency.

The CARS program — formally the Car Allowance Rebate System, but casually called the cash for clunkers program — propped up sales in July and August. As the program ended, however, manufacturers may well have said pop goes the weasel.

Floor traffic was lousy all month “¦ It was a real post-clunker hangover, said Mark LaNeve, GM’s vice president for U.S. sales.

Ford Motor Co. said sales fell 5 percent in September from a year ago. General Motors Co. said sales for the month fell 45 percent from 2008. Chrysler called it a 42 percent drop. Honda reported a 20 percent decline; Toyota 13 percent, Nissan 7 percent, The New York Times reported.

The cash for clunker was expected to have sparked consumer-supported interest — like priming a pump. But the priming didn’t take.

I expected the month to be a bit stronger, but it just wasn’t, LaNeve said.

Source: upi

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