Worser and worser. Canada (and Ford US):
GM Canada loses sales crown
February marked the end of an era in the Canadian automotive market as General Motors of Canada Ltd. was knocked out of top spot in sales.
GM sank to third place, two industry sources said Tuesday, behind Chrysler Canada Inc. [!!!!!! – DP] and Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd.
GM has been the largest seller of automobiles in Canada on an annual basis since 1950, when it jumped ahead of Ford.
Vehicle sales overall in Canada plunged by as much as 30 per cent from year-earlier levels, with GM’s 56-per-cent drop the largest among the big players.
Chrysler’s sales fell 27 per cent to 12,015, but that was enough to surpass GM. Ford picked up market share with a decline of about 15 per cent.
Separately, Toyota Canada Inc. sales fell 25 per cent to 10,136.
Honda Canada Inc., meanwhile, said its Honda and Acura divisions marked a 42 per cent fall from a year earlier, adding there were unusually high sales in February, 2008.
In the United States, where auto makers were also reporting February sales Tuesday, Ford Motor Co. posted a 48-per-cent drop, and unveiled lower production targets for the second quarter overall…
Sales plunge in big car-making countries
Major car-making countries reported huge plunges in car sales today, with France and particularly heavyweight Japan hit hard by the deepening world manufacturing crisis.
In Japan, car, truck and bus purchases dropped 32.4% in February from a year earlier to 218,212, the steepest decline for that month since 1974…
Sales of new cars in France plummeted over 13% in February compared to sales in the same month last year..
New car registrations in Spain, Europe’s third-biggest car sector [emphasis added], continued their sharp decline, plunging 48.8% to 62,107 units in February compared to the same time last year.
In another major car producing nation, Germany, the government is mulling a request from General Motors for billions of euros in aid for its stricken subsidiary Opel, Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said today. The head of GM Europe, Carl-Peter Forster, has said the company needs €3.3 billion Europe-wide to survive.
Auto Bailout: Et Tu, Toyota?
To raise funds, the top automaker is asking for a loan from the state-backed Japan Bank for International Cooperation
There’s a surprising addition to the list of automakers asking for billions of dollars in bailout funds…
According to reports in Japan’s local media, Toyota is in talks to borrow a little over $2 billion from the state-backed Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to secure funds for its U.S. operations [emphasis added–so go to Tokyo for bailout as D.C. is obviously out]. Toyota, which expects to lose $3.9 billion this year, through a spokesman confirmed it is discussing the loan, but declined to discuss the details. If Toyota does reach a deal, it will be the first Japanese automaker to apply for assistance from the new emergency fund, which is tapping $5 billion from the Japanese government this month to lend to Japanese corporations that operate internationally…
The US market’s future?
Rougher ride seen for car makers
CIBC predicts U.S. sales won’t recover to levels from when credit was easy, economy hummed
It’s dark out there in the auto industry. And it will get a lot darker and stay that way, says a report from a top Canadian bank.
In one of the industry’s gloomier forecasts, CIBC World Markets said yesterday that over the next five years, annual auto sales in the key U.S. market will sink to about half the level of the last half-decade.
That means about half of the 51 light vehicle plants in the U.S. will close in the next few years, eliminating 200,000 jobs in the assembly and parts sectors, according to the bank’s report.
Canada will also lose about half of its production at 11 assembly plants and scores of parts suppliers through closures and shift reductions, said Jeff Rubin, chief economist at CIBC World Markets. Canada exports more than 85 per cent of its auto production to the U.S. [see this post]
“There would be no reason for it to be different on this side of the border,” Rubin said in an interview, regarding the impact of much lower U.S. sales here.
The report’s predictions on U.S. sales are lower than even the worst-case scenarios of the struggling Detroit-based automakers who are seeking billions in aid from U.S. and Canadian governments.
For example, General Motors Corp. estimates U.S. sales could drop to 9.5 million vehicles this year and then recover to 12.8 million by 2011 and almost 15 million by 2013 in its “downside” scenario.
The CIBC report also projects U.S. consumers will buy only eight to nine million vehicles a year for the next five years, down from 16 million plus earlier this decade, when credit was easy.
Rubin, who predicted last year that oil prices would hit $225 (U.S.) a barrel by 2012 [emphasis added–so rather a Cassandra] before revising his forecast, said gasoline is cheap now but will shoot up, like last year, to the $4 (U.S.) per-gallon range when Americans start driving more as the economy recovers.