As demand fell after the U.S. cash-for-clunkers program came to an end, Ford Motor Co.'s U.S. sales dropped 5% in September. Year-over-year gains were reported in July and August.
This actually matches the analysts predictions of sales drops of the Detroit 3 and the big Japanese automakers.
Analysts predicted that after August's year-high seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 13.7 million units and the first year-over-year monthly gain since October 2007, there would be an average annual rate of 9.3 million units in September. That would tie March for the second-lowest this year.
Rebecca Lindland, director of automotive research at IHS Global Insight, said that the hangover from the cash for clunkers program would be felt until the end of the year.
Demand was weakest in the first half of September since the federal government's clunkers program, which ended Aug. 24, had stifled September sales by eating up inventories and attracting buyers who would have made their purchases later in the year.
By the end of September, automakers are expected to have beefed up its inventory, setting the stage for a gradual improvement in sales through next year. George Magliano, director of North American auto industry research for IHS Global Insight, predicts a more robust recovery (slightly above the 13.2 million U.S. sales recorded last year) will come in 2011.