US auto sales remain depressed

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February brought no relief for the troubled US auto industry, so critical to chemical sales. Sales were down 41% versus 2008. Even more worryingly, sales over the past quarter, and last 6 months, averaged under 10 million/year. Chrysler’s results also show the severe cost of gaining market share. It gained 1.4% in the retail market, but only by increasing its discounts by c$2000, to $5566 per vehicle.

Inventories have been reduced due to lower production, but still remain high. Ford, for example, had 405000 vehicles in stock – equivalent to 4 months supply. GM were worse, with 781000 vehicles in stock, equal to 6 months supply. A sign of the times is that Chrysler boast on their website of having only 100 days of inventory.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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