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.