January 5th, 2009 at 7:20pm
Yes, car sales look terrible for December. But that’s if you compare sales to the same month a year ago. The market has changed so much from then that I would argue you can’t get an accurate read on what’s going on right now, if you’re only measuring today’s sales against 12 months ago. A better gauge is a running average over the last 6 months. Car sales are in a terrible state, but the bottom may actually have been reached in November. In fact, sales were up by nearly 150,000 units or nearly 20% in December vs. November.
January could be better. GM and Chrysler received the first installments on their bridge loans, which instilled some level of confidence in the market. GMAC received TARP money which will help stabilize quite a number of dealers. GM immediately began offering low interest loans and resuming national television advertising.
That’s not to say the market is on a rebound. But it may well be that we hit the low point two months ago and are starting to inch up.