"“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

Thursday, April 02, 2009

US new car sales fall 37% Year on Year

US March auto sales were again markedly lower (BBC).Industrywide sales fell 37% from a year earlier but rose from February's 27-year low. New autos sold at an annual rate of 9.9 million (ish) units, according to sales tracker Autodata Corp. of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. (Excel Spreadsheet)

The results resulted in shares up for some automakers seeing an unexpected rise (in Tokyo, Nissan +13.8%, Honda +10.7%, Toyota +5.5%).

Ford (F): March sales -40.9% from a year ago to 131,465 vehicles. SUV sales -73.2% to 73.2%. Inventories 27% lower than last year.
Mercedes-Benz (DAI): March sales -23% from a year ago to 17,348 vehicles.
Honda (HMC): March sales -33.7% to 88,379 vehicles.
General Motors (GM): March sales -44.7% to 156,380 vehicles. Sales of 7/8 of its brands, however, were higher vs. February. Inventories -12% from a year ago to 765K.
Toyota (TM): March sales -36.6% to 132,802 vehicles, including a 40.6% rise Lexus. Sales rose 16.3% vs. February.
Nissan (NSANY): March sales -37.7% to 106,921 vehicles.
Chrysler sold 101,000 vehicles, the first time it had exceeded 100,000 a month since September.

President O'Bomber has held off helping GM and Chrysler. GM, the biggest U.S. automaker, has to meet a 60-day deadline Obama announced on March 30 (which is no doubt fudgeable) , while No. 3 Chrysler has 30 days to complete a tie-up with Italy’s Fiat SpA. Detroit- based GM and Chrysler have been propped up with US $17.4 Bn of taxpapyers funds over the past three months.

The US auto industry is in a death spiral, no amount of bail out money, no amount of brave words and whistling is gong to help The industry has to lose Chtsler, lose badgs, slim down manufacturing and dealers and make better cars with greater fue efficiency.

Italian new car sales hold up

Italian new car registrations rose 0.24 % to 214,218 units in March, transport ministry figures showed today, the first increase in a year and a sign government incentives are finally bearing fruit.

Car orders in March rose 36 % on the year to 276,000, Italy's foreign car makers' association UNRAE said in a separate statement.

Fiat, the country's biggest car maker, saw its sales rise for cars under its three brands, up 6.1 % to 69,882 units in March, based transport ministry figures. Reuters say that Fiat's market share of sales rose to 33 % (ish) percent in March, against 31 % (ish) a year earlier for the same period.

Fiat has struggled to slash costs, including the suspension of production at its plants in Italy, and is negotiating some sort of a deal with Chrysler (but do not hold your breath).

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