Midwest Ford Downplays Drop in Sales

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October 4, 2009 - 7:00pm

U.S. auto sales fell sharply in September, enduring a tough hangover from the summer's buying spree driven by the Cash for Clunkers program. But a regional sales manager for a U.S. auto company is downplaying those numbers.

The September slump for car and truck makers follows a heady summer. Automakers got a big lift in July and August from the government's Cash for Clunkers program, which spurred sales of nearly 700,000 new vehicles. The program's big discounts lured in customers who might otherwise have waited until later in the year to buy.

Automakers are starting to feel the effect. Last week, Ford announced its 3rd quarter sales were 28.9 percent higher than a year ago. But now, sales figures are dropping, according to Mickey Calais, Sales Operation Manager of the Kansas City Region.

"What hurt us really bad in September was the inventory levels because of the sales in July and August it drove our stock on the ground in the region to unprecedented levels and it took up until the third week of September," Calais said. "We've seen a little uptick in last week and a half to 10 days of the month once inventory levels got to a reasonable position for the dealers within the region."

Calais says Ford is in a good position going into October, despite the sales decline. Recent sales for other US automakers were even worse - General Motors and Chrysler dropped by 45 percent and 42 percent respectively. Ford managed to only decline 5 percent compared to a year ago.

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