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Mid-May Domestic Car Sales Fall 24.9%

May 27, 1987|LESLIE ERINGAARD | Times Staff Writer

DETROIT — Total domestic car sales fell 24.9% in mid-May, continuing the trend of softness in the domestic car market, the eight auto manufacturers reported Tuesday.

"The market is very weak," said Thomas O'Grady, an auto analyst with Wayne, Pa.-based Integrated Automotive Resources. "(Domestic car) companies do not seem to be marketing their vehicles right now, and that has a very significant effect on car sales." O'Grady explained that many companies have cut back on advertising to contain costs.

General Motors' sales fell 37.8% during the 10-day period, compared to the same period a year ago. Ford's sales declined 5.1% and Chrysler's sales dropped 23.7%. Troubled American Motors' sales dove 62.8% to only 600 cars sold during the period.

Due to strong mid-May sales for Honda and Nissan, total sales of U.S.-built cars produced by foreign firms--the so-called transplants built by Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Volkswagen--rose 113.5%.

David Healy, an auto analyst with Drexel Burnham Lambert, noted that the transplants made up 7% of the total market share. That represents, he added, "A little bit of a bite out of Detroit's lunch."

Nissan's sales soared 1,879.5% in mid-May, 1987, largely because its Tennessee factory was idled a year ago for model changeover. Honda's sales rose 52.4% and VW sales declined 28.6%. Toyota sold 1,259 cars in the mid-May sales period. There are no comparable year-ago figures since its domestic subcompact production didn't begin until September, 1986.

AUTO SALES Percentage changes in auto sales for the second 10 days of May are based on daily rates rather than total sales volume. There were nine selling days in the current period and eightin the year-ago period.

May 11-20 May 11-20 % 10-Day 1987 1986 change GM 111,519 159,437 -37.8 Ford 64,984 60,875 -5.1 Chrysler 28,840 33,613 -23.7 Honda U.S. 5,865 3,421 +52.4 AMC* 600 1,435 -62.8 VW U.S.* 2,114 2,632 -28.6 Nissan U.S. 5,946 267 +1879 Toyota U.S. 1,259 -- -- TOTAL 221,127 261,680 -24.9


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