Ford and GM sales declined again in November, while those of Chrysler, Toyota, Honda and Nissan increased. While car sales for Ford and GM are showing the sharpest drop, the two largest automakers saw their sales of light trucks decline as well. Both have indicated they will cut production in the first quarter of 2005. Buoyed by the Chrysler 300, which sold more than 10,000 units for the seventh month in a row, as well growing enthusiasm for the Pacifica and Town and Country, Chrysler continues on its upward surge in both cars and trucks. The Japanese automakers once again captured a larger percentage of market share at the expense of the Biggest 2.
Overall, the combined light vehicle sales of the Big 6 declined very slightly in November to 1,030,156, down 0.6% on a DSR basis from the year before. The ratio of light trucks to cars remains fairly constant, at an average 61% trucks, 39% cars across the six vendors. Those percentages skew heavily toward trucks for the Detroit vendors, as seen in the chart to the right. Ongoing high prices for gasoline have yet to affect this ratio, although a Ford executive quoted in the New York Times piece (link above) looks to lay some of the blame for their slowdown on fuel prices.
Given the structure of the rebates (the vendors whose sales are dropping the most have the highest rebates), we can’t say that consumers are being bribed to buy the larger vehicles. It just remains the buying psyche of the majority, and external events haven’t yet done enough to change that.