DETROIT — Despite major incentives on many domestic autos, total domestic car sales plunged 38.3% in mid-September, compared to the same period a year ago, the seven auto manufacturers reported Wednesday.
The newest incentive programs initiated by the Big Three auto companies include financing rates as low as 1.9% on two-year car loans. Automotive analysts agree, however, that the new low financing rates and rebate programs have failed to generate much excitement among consumers.
"It's got to be pretty unanimous that sales are disappointing," said John Hammond, an automotive analyst with J. D. Power & Associates. The expiration of the incentives "will still leave domestic manufacturers with unusual amounts of 1987 carry-over models going into the 1988 model year. . . . This creates the need for the manufacturers to re-examine (their) production schedules for the fourth quarter."
Hammond speculated that sales would pick up slightly in the final 10 days of September, just before incentives are scheduled to expire on Ford and General Motors vehicles. He added, however, that the expected surge will "not be enough to offset the dreary performance of the last month."