GM, Chrysler August Sales Down, but Ford, Toyota Up

By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 1, 2009; 10:26 AM

Ford said August vehicle sales were up 17 percent compared to August of 2008, juiced by the government's cash-for-clunkers program.

Toyota reported moments ago that its August sales were up 10.5 percent compared to August of last year, as it benefited heavily from the clunkers program, as well.

(Note: The Ticker originally reported that Ford sales were up 21.2 percent in August, but that figure did not include Ford's fleet sales for the month, which were way off. Ford led its sales-figure release with the non-fleet number, obviously, because it's the more favorable one. We call out that sneakiness here.)

General Motors' year-over-year sales numbers were down 20.2 percent, but GM sales soared 30 percent from July to August, thanks to the clunkers program.

Chrysler's August sales slumped, on the other hand, which makes one wonder how bad they would have been without cash-for-clunkers.

Chrysler was down 15.4 percent compared to the same period of last year.

At the same time, Chrysler's August sales were up 5 percent compared to July, so that's something. The company blamed a lack of inventory for slow sales.

Ford vehicles were the only representatives from the Big Three on the list of Top 10 cars purchased under the cash-for-clunkers program, a list dominated by Japanese automakers.

Ford is the only of the Big Three to turn down federal bailout money and to make it through the financial crisis without declaring bankruptcy.

It's worth noting also that in Japan, August auto sales rose for the first time in 13 months on a year-over-year basis.

Other automakers' August results:

-- Hyundai looks like the biggest cash-for-clunkers winner so far. The Korean automaker's August sales surged 47 percent compared to August of 2008.

-- Nissan was down 2.9 percent in August compared to last year.

-- Volkswagen was up 11.4 percent.

-- Daimler was down 10.5 percent.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company