Automakers Amidst the Crisis

by : Evander Klum

High gasoline prices are not the only problem that's slowing down the auto industry but the crisis caused by sub-prime mortgage. The high interest rates and slow housing market are costing the automakers big time.

But surprisingly, the past month has been a very good month for crossovers and also for luxury brands including those European brands. It was however Toyota's Lexus brand that has been able to set sales records for August.

For the month of August, overall auto sales have improved as compared to the low sales obtained in July. The SAAR or the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Sales Rate covering June and July was 16.2 million. Deutsche Bank one of the industry's observers has estimated that the year will end with 16 million units of vehicles sold and projected 16.5 million units for 2008.

Ford has again obtained a decline of 14 percent for its branded vehicles such as Mercury, Lincoln, Volvo, Land Rover, and Jaguar fortunately the automaker has gotten good results from its crossovers last month gaining an increase of 82 percent.

Here's the sales obtained by Ford for August:
Ford Edge- 10,165 units sold
Lincoln MKX- 3,421
Mercury Mariners- 2,939

The world's largest automaker General Motors has reported a 5 percent increase last month with 388,168 deliveries of new vehicles comparing that with the results from July that has recorded 24percent boost in sales to daily rental fleets.

The world's second largest automaker and producer of , Toyota Motor has seen its renowned brand lose sales last month as compared to the same period last year. Toyota including its luxury brand Lexus has reported 233,471 vehicles sold for August a dropped of almost 2.8 percent from August of 2006.

Fortunately for some other Asian automakers like Nissan which has obtained an increase of 6 percent, Kia with 7 percent, and Hyundai with 1 percent. They have obtained big gains from their small and midsize crossovers. The Korean automaker Hyundai has gain an increase of 55 percent in sales last month due to its re-minted Santa Fe. This was 13 percent more as compared to its August sales which was attributed to the sales of the Tucson compact SUV. Honda has reported a 4.7 percent increase in sales as compared to August 2006. But overall the Honda division is up by 6.7 percent.

In the luxury brand division, Honda's Acura is down by 10 percent, while that of Mercedes and Lexus both reported their best August eve. Same with BMW and Audi with 19.3 percent and 7.1 percent increase respectively. Nissan's Infiniti also obtained an increase of 8.7 percent.

Lastly, Deutsch Bank has projected that sales this year will further be constrained by the weak housing market, negative equity on trade-ins, higher interest rates as well as the inflationary pressures.