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Slowdown signs - US auto sales in September down by 23pct

Reuters reported that US auto sales tumbled by 23% in September as showrooms emptied after the government funded boom from the cash for clunkers program, with General Motors Co and Chrysler hardest hit.

Sales for General Motors Co and Chrysler dropped by 45% and 42%, respectively. Ford managed to hold its sales decline to 5% from a year earlier despite low inventories and reduced incentives for car shoppers.

Automakers had braced for a sharp pullback in September after the clunkers program and taxpayer funded credits of up to USD 4,500 drove sales sharply higher the month before. The overall result was in line with those forecasts as industry wide US auto sales dropped 41% from August. On the annualized basis tracked by analysts, industry wide US auto sales dropped to 9.2 million vehicles in September, the weakest sales rate since April. Meanwhile, US sales for the three major Japanese automakers were also lower in September after gains in August during the short lived cash for clunkers boom.

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