"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

US car sales fall off a cliff in March - Gas pump prices highest ever

The financial engineers are busily wiping out acres of zeroes on their balance sheets, and the US engineers are reporting fast declining sales. As expected US auto sales saw double digit declines in the 26 selling days of March (28 selling days in '07)

Ford posted a 14.3% decline from a year ago to 227,143 vehicles Cars were down 9.6%, trucks 16.7% with the F-Series pickup down 23.8% the once red-hot Ford Mustang saw demand down 30.9% to 10,180 vehicles and the now ex Ford / Land Rover posted a 16.6% drop but in the gloom Jaguar reported a 5.1% rise. The remaining Ford "luxury" brand - Volvo posted a 13.1% decline.

On a sober note Ford marketing chief Jim Farley said he expects next quarter to be the worst in the year. Ford Market capitalization today is US$12.65 Bn. GM's is US$11.32 Bn. - UBS wrote off US$19Bn. today.

Ford said sales to individual buyers dropped 17 %, with most of the decline in pickup trucks and SUVs. Sales to rental-car companies were down 13 % and total fleet sales slid 9 %.

GM sales fell off a cliff , light vehicle sales dropped 19% to 280,713 down from 345,417 a year ago.

Cars were down 14.2%, and light trucks 21.7% the Hummer saw sales melt away by 29% to 3,451 vehicles. Chevrolet sales fell an eyewatering 22.8 % to 164,564 vehicles in March.

Toyota, said March sales fell 10% to 217,730 from 242,675 a year earlier.

Total passenger car sales fell to 129,778 from 140,009, and light truck sales declined to 87,952 from 102,666. Toyota brand sales fell 9.8% to 192,791 vehicles from 213,820, and its luxury Lexus division saw sales fall 14% to 24,939 units from 28,855 last year.

Honda saw a sales drop overall of some 3% to 138,734 units from 143,392 a year ago. March U.S. sales of the Civic rose to 32,740 vehicles from 29,721 a year ago.

Nissan also saw sales overall were down by 3% but no breakdown is available.

German Luxury car maker Porsche reported a 25% decline to 2,467 units from 3,278 and Mercedes Benz, said March U.S. sales dropped to 20,808 vehicles from 21,612 a year ago.

Bloomberg report that Gasoline rose to $3.287 a gallon for regular unleaded in the U.S. on March 30, the highest ever and more than 61 cents above year-earlier prices (rise of 2%) . Consumer sentiment for the month fell to the lowest in 16 years.

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