September auto sales plunge


U.S. auto sales fell by more than 20% in September as showrooms emptied after the Cash-for-Clunkers sales boom ended. GM sales dropped 45% while sales at Chrysler were off 42%. Ford, meanwhile, managed to hold its sales decline to 5% despite low inventories and sharply reduced spending on incentives. It estimated that it gained 3 percentage points of market share to 15% of the U.S. market in September. Hyundai saw its sales jump 27% in September.

On the annualized basis tracked by analysts, industry-wide U.S. auto sales dropped to near 9 million vehicles in September, near the weakest point of a four-year downturn that the U.S. market hit in February.

The August sales rate had been above 14 million, powered by Cash for Clunkers.