Automotive winners and losers for 2007

Automotive winners and losers for 2007 http://money.cnn.com/2007/10/12/autos/Taylor_2007_sales.fortune/index.htm?postversion 07101212
October 12 2007: 12:59 PM EDT
NEW YORK (Fortune) -- With the 2008 model year now upon us, its a good time to look back at the first nine months of calendar 2007 to see who the champs and chumps are. The names may not surprise you but the amount of movement might.
The auto industry as a whole has been disappointing, with sales in the U.S. down 4.5% through September. The subprime mortgage collapse gets most of the blame. If you are worried about seeing your house foreclosed, you probably aren't going to be out shopping for a new car. Others, who used their homes like ATMs, are finding refinancing difficult to impossible. Auto sales have been particularly weak in California and Florida, two of the hardest-hit housing markets.
Among the ten major manufacturers, only four have lost ground this year -- the Detroit Three and Volkswagen. No surprises there. Ford is the big loser as it undergoes a wrenching restructuring at the hands of a novice CEO. Its sales are down 13.3% so far this year. New marketing boss Jim Farley, recruited from Toyota (Charts) on Thursday, has a lot of work to do.
On the upside, the import brands were big winners, with BMW leading the way, followed by Nissan (Charts). Shorn of Chrysler, Mercedes is showing a little strength, too, with sales up 1.8%.
High-impact new models moved the needle significantly for a couple of makes that had been languishing. Lincoln's sales have risen 14.5% this year and it is closing the gap with its moderately-priced dealer mate Mercury. Expect to see Mercury to go the way of Plymouth and Oldsmobile in a few years. Saturn, which has been totally revamped by the injection of Opel models to its lineup, is up 11.7%, though that is probably less than the folks at General Motors (Charts, Fortune 500) would like.
A shortage of dealer traffic has plunged several other brands deep into the loss column. Jaguar, still suffering from a series of disastrous product and design errors, has seen its sales plummet 27.2% this year. At Buick, meanwhile, even the arrival of the acclaimed Enclave crossover vehicle hasn't been enough to keep sales of this one-time doctors favorite from falling 24.7%.
Digging deeper into the data, truck sales continue to outpace car sales despite the seeming permanence of $3 gasoline. Car sales are down 4.5% versus a decline of only 1.4% for trucks. Much of that is due to the soaring popularity of crossover vehicles, which are counted as trucks even though they are engineered like cars. But Honda's CR-V, a crossover, now outsells the Ford Explorer, a traditional truck-based SUV.
At the model level, the plight of the Detroit Three is vivid. In September, as Automotive News points out, only nine of its 41 nameplates saw sales go up in September. The good news is that two recently redesigned models, the Cadillac CTS and the Chrysler Sebring are selling strongly.
Less encouraging has been the response to the old Ford 500 that was renamed Taurus earlier this year. The move was supposed to boost buyer recognition of the vehicle but Ford (Charts, Fortune 500) has sold about half as many cars under the new name as it did under the old one.
What do the early returns from the 2008 model year portend? Nothing very encouraging. With sales headed below 16 million units for the first time in eight years in calendar 2007, there are predictions they could fall even further next year.
Analysts at UBS see "a growing risk that U.S. volumes will tumble further given the problems in housing and the difficulty faced by many consumers in accessing credit." It is using a 10% cut to forecast U.S. volumes for each manufacturer.
Still, several high-volume cars have been totally reengineered for 2008 and could create some showroom excitement. Reviewers have swooned over the new Honda (Charts) Accord, which provides a remarkable combination of comfort, agility, and fuel economy. The V-6 version is rated at 29 miles to the gallon on the highway.
Emerging in November will be the all-new Chevrolet Malibu, another popular-priced sedan on which GM is placing its hopes for a turnaround in consumer sentiment. Given the way preferences have been trending for the past decade, though, GM will be fortunate just to arrest its decline in market share, much less begin to reclaim any that it has lost to its import rivals.
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I am tired of hearing about the mortgage collapse. Lending companies along with realtors sold people housed they could not afford. Interest rates should stay where the were and the government should have went after the real culprits, the developers,lenders and realtors.They should have to pay the loans.

http://money.cnn.com/2007/10/12/autos/Taylor_2007_sales.fortune/index.htm?postversion 07101212

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Huh? Over zealous, undisciplined buyers stuck themselves out too far on a limb because they feel they can just go out and get anything they want - simply because they want it, and you feel someone else should be responsible for those actions? Bull! According to your plan, we should punish those who made the houses available and allow the irresponsible buyers to continue in the benefit of their bad decisions buy bailing them out. Nope. Let the unrestrained, gotta have it all now crowd suffer the consequences of their ill advised decisions. That's life.
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IMO, it is a combination of stupid buyers and greedy lenders, sellers, and buyers.
I pass a house on the way to work that was being built and offered for sale. The price was $385,000 with no money down.
Who in their right mind would either buy or sell a house of that value for NO money down? It takes three parties to come up with a deal like that and depending on the income and credit worthiness of the buyer, blame can be assigned to each of them is some proportion. Each deal would be different, but I'd guess blame would be about seller 10%, lender 30%, buyer 60%. With existing houses, the seller would maybe be in the 0% to 5% range as they don't usually have any say as to who buys, but in some cases today the seller does pay closing costs to make it easier for the buyer.
In NO case is it the responsibility of the taxpayer to bail out any of them.
Years ago, it was pretty much standard procedure to buy that first house getting as much as you could afford because in the next year or two, you'd get a raise at work and could afford it easier at time went on. Mortgages were fixed terms, taxes did not jump 60% a year and heating costs did not jump 90% a year. We did not have the option of interest only mortgages nor did we fact huge increases in rates after two years. Today, I say screw the people that gave them out and took them on and let them work it out. Owners of $500,000 homes don't need charity.
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I think the risk is on the shoulders of the lenders but not the responsibility.

That's where I disagree. Temptation placed in the path of the consumer is still the responsibility of the consumer to bear. You can call the builders and lenders unscrupulous, and I'd agree, but the ultimate responsibility for the decision to buy is squarely on the shoulders of the buyer in my opinion. If the lender gets screwed in the deal somehow, because they took on a risk that was too high, then I say fine - screw them. That's the chance you take. But - that's a lot different than assigning blame to the lender for the purchase decisions of the buyer.
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OK, we both agree that the buyer is responsible, but I'm shifting some of the blame to the lender. That is an unusual circumstance for me, but this is an exception.
Shirts are offered in may sizes. If you normally take a large, but you see extra large or 3X and buy them instead, you made a stupid choice. Mortgages however, are much more complex than many homeowners can fully comprehend and the lenders, especially middle man brokers, are not willing to be teachers. They have no legal responsibility to do so either. Being greedy, they don't care if the homeowner is going to be in trouble in two years. The homeowner, especially first time buyers, just don't see it coming or the potential for it. They figure that the lender would not give them the money if they were not qualified.
Every case? No. Some cases, yes, and in varying degrees of culpability.
In any case, it is not up to me to bail them out with tax dollars.
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I just think that the money should come from the lenders, reltors and developers INSTED of from the tax payers. I have no pity for someone who buys more than they can afford. If anything they ruin it for everyone else.Just like the poor sap who goes to a dealer and don't care about the price just "how much are my payments" the dealer is glad to add years to the loan to get the payment the idiot wants.

http://money.cnn.com/2007/10/12/autos/Taylor_2007_sales.fortune/index.htm?postversion 07101212

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IMO Volkswagen is suffering from some of the same issues that have caused the Detroit Three to lose ground..principally, credibility.
VW should put out a near faultless vehicle...They dont. They, corporately, should protect their customers...They dont do that very well either.
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