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New Car Sales Drop 7.5%, but Ford Up 10.7%

October 24, 1987|LESLIE ERINGAARD | Times Staff Writer

DETROIT — New car sales fell 7.5% in mid-October, compared to the same period a year ago, the seven major domestic auto manufacturers reported Friday, and analysts predicted that sales may drop further.

With the week's major drop in the stock market and with the end of many incentive programs, "weak sales are expected," said Theodore Sullivan, an automotive analyst with Wharton Econometrics.

"Regarding the recent stock market activity, we think that it is going to have a depressing effect on consumer sentiment," he said. As of now, he said, "We also think that the stock market is going to stabilize" and "will have only about a month's impact on auto sales."

Most auto buyers do not own stock, he noted, adding that uncertainty in the stock market is more likely to affect luxury car sales. "I would think that Chrysler, which is concentrated in the low end of the car market, shouldn't be too affected (by stock market volatility.) General Motors is more vulnerable and Ford is in between."

Of the Big Three auto companies in Detroit, only Ford reported an increase in sales from the year-ago period. Ford was up 10.7% from the previous year. GM and Chrysler reported decreases. GM's new auto sales dropped 6.1%, and Chrysler sales figures (which now include American Motors sales) plunged 40.8%.

AUTO SALES

Oct. 11-20 Oct. 11-20 % 8-Day 1987 1986 change GM 76,509 81,564 -6.2 Ford 46,335 41,875 +10.7 Chrysler 19,909 33,631 -40.8 Honda U.S. 6,600 5,987 +10.2 VW U.S.* 1,143 1,426 -19.8 Nissan U.S. 2,504 1,962 +27.6 Toyota U.S. 1,026 ------ TOTAL 154,026 166,445 -7.5

*Estimate

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