GM, Ford sales plunge, Chrysler falls to No. 4

GM, Ford sales plunge, Chrysler falls to No. 4 http://money.cnn.com/2007/01/03/news/companies/autosales/index.htm?postversion 07010315
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- General Motors and Ford Motor ended a difficult year with another plunge in U.S. sales, while Chrysler Group reported an unexpected rise in sales in the month, although it wasn't enough to stop its parent, DaimlerChrysler, from falling to fourth place in full-year U.S. sales for the first time.
GM (Charts) sales fell 13 percent in the month, although the automaker reported sales on per-selling-day basis that showed only a 9.7 percent decline. The fall left GM with sales 8.7 percent lower in 2006 than the year before.
The slide at GM in December was much worse than had been forecast. Auto sales tracker Edmunds.com had forecast only a 5.2 percent drop for the largest U.S. automaker in raw terms, and sales down only narrowly on a per-sales day. Shares of Dow component GM plunged about 5 percent following the report.
Still, Mark LaNeve, a GM vice president, said in the statement that GM's December sales topped internal sales targets, especially in full-size pickup trucks and SUVs, where GM debuted new models in 2006.
Alex Rosten, Manager of market analysis for Edmunds, said he thinks that much of the problem in GM sales was that it was offering a 2007 model pick-up with little or no incentives to induce buyers, while Dodge and Ford were making big cash-back and other offers to move their glut of 2006 model pickups still on dealers' lots.
"It shows people were shopping for the best deal, not the newest product," said Rosten. "Dodge's incentives hit $4,400, which was roughly double what GM offered. But in a nutshell, it wasn't bad news for GM because they're making more money on the vehicles they're selling. Once the '06's are gone, the next six months should be solid for GM trucks."
Ford, Chrysler lose ground to Toyota Ford Motor (Charts) reported that U.S. sales fell 12.8 percent from December a year earlier. As bad as that was, it was better than the forecast of nearly a 20 percent drop made by Edmunds.com, and George Pipas, Ford's manager of sales analysis, said Ford topped its internal target and regained lost market share in December after falling short of its own forecasts in November. Ford shares were little changed on the report.
Still the nation's No. 2 automaker ended the year with sales of 2.9 million vehicles, off 7.9 percent from 2005 total. And it could well be in the No. 3 position in U.S. sales in 2007.
Ford's December sales were once again less than reported by Toyota Motor (Charts), and its current U.S. market share, which Pipas estimates at 14.8 percent, would likely put it behind Toyota's share in 2007. The Japanese automaker, which is also expected to pass GM in global sales in 2007, had better than 15 percent of the U.S. market in 2006.
Ford unveils Ford unveils Mustang-based concept While sales of Ford's car models posted a 5.4 percent rise, its light truck models saw sales tumble 14.3 percent. That was crucial for the company, which depends on sales of the more expensive pickups and SUVs for its profits. Even with the plunge, light truck models account for 62 percent of sales.
Ford's F-series pickup truck - the best selling U.S. vehicle - saw sales off 21 percent in December from year earlier levels, and saw full-year sales down nearly 12 percent, dropping more than 100,000. Pipas blamed the combination of gas prices and a weak home-building market for the decline, as the pickup is popular with builders.
Chrysler reported its U.S. sales gained 1 percent to 190,415 vehicles in the month, up 1 percent from year-earlier sales. Edmunds.com had been looking for a 6.7 percent decline in sales for the period.
But Mercedes-Benz, the luxury brand which, like Chrysler, is owned by DaimlerChrysler (Charts), reported a 10 percent drop in sales, leaving the overall company with a 1 percent drop in U.S. sales in December from a year earlier.
Even with better-than-expected November results, Chrysler ended the year with U.S. sales of 2.1 million, off 7 percent from 2005, while Mercedes gained 11 percent for the year. That left DaimlerChrysler's sales here down 5 percent to 2.4 million vehicles.
The result dropped DaimlerChrysler into fourth place in U.S. sales for a full year for the first time.
Toyota meanwhile posted a slightly-better-than 12 percent rise in both December and full-year sales, topping Edmunds forecasts. Its full year sales came in at 2.5 million, and the company is likely poised for more gains in 2007 as it introduces a full-size pickup for the first time and continues to offer fuel efficient cars for those concerned about gasoline prices.
Like Toyota, Honda Motor (Charts) also reported record U.S. sales for the full year, although its December sales were narrowly lower than a year earlier, it topped Edmunds' forecast. The sales tracker is looking for the other major Japanese automaker, Nissan (Charts), to report a drop in December sales later in the day Wednesday.
-- The brave might not live forever but the timid do not live at all
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They sell gas hogs. GM, Ford and the other one need to be innovative again if they are to survive. Cut the workforce, get out from the union contracts and make killer vehicles, (taken from killer apps in the computer world). These guys need to wow a wide body of potential buyers not just a few red-necks that only want pick-um-up's. They need to quit being followers and instead be leaders in the field.
I doubt it will happen.
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wrote:

You're right about the gas hogs... Does GM offer a real hybrid, yet? The CrApVEO gets 37mpg and it's a real POS. There are at least three different - and nice - Toyotas which eke out 40-41mpg. Toyota's aggressive moves at the low-end of the market with Yaris and the Scion brand are going to steal a whole generation of new buyers from GM and Ford (that is, if the Don Fearns of this world will stop buying them so the kids can get a chance at them).
I laughed out loud late last summer when I read GM was "rushing the new GMT-900 pickups" to market to aid in the turnaround. Yes! Gas hogs will save the company when a gas price shock is fresh in everyone's mind! Gee, that plan worked sooo well. It also appears GM gets extra hurtin' from public perception that last year's product is about as good as this years product, so there's no rush to buy that GMT-900 that GM rushed out, they'll shop price, thank you very much.
The spin from GM is unbelievable. "[M]et internal sales targets." Who are they kidding?
In the full press release, however, there were two bright spots for GM (if you believe their press release): - They cut inventory significantly (at least, I thought I read this yesterday, now I can't find the same press release I read yesterday. I could be wrong about this). - They cut incentives by $700 per vehicle; prices have firmed a bit (that's in the release now at media.gm.com)
I disagree with part of your prescription, though. Union agreements are certainly hurting GM. However, GM agreed to those settlements, nobody put a gun to Roger Smith's head, and GM further chose not to fund the commitments they were making, leading to the current cost situation. In spite of the burden imposed by these agreements, rather than fund them, GM IS PAYING DIVIDENDS.
I'm prepared to see the union get nothing only if the shareholders and executives also get nothing. But the latter is not on the table. Chapter 11 would let the shareholders come out with equity and CEO Wagoner's even got a bankruptcy-proof separation agreement (gee, why would a CEO even think to negotiate such a thing? And what corporate board would agree to such a thing?). Alternatively, I'd think a settlement that left the Union with half ownership in the "new" GM was fair.
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So why did sales of Scion models drop 9% (for the tC) to 20% (for the xB) from December of 2005 to December of 2006? Could it possibly be becasue the three Scion models have some of the worst safety records of any vehicles sold in the US?
Dec Dec Chag Model 2006 2005 SCION xA 2,000 2,392 -13.2 SCION xB 3,330 4,341 -20.3 SCION tC 4,996 5,724 -9.4
IIHS Injury Loss Ratings (lower is better, 100 is average)
Model Rating SCION xA 178 (worst in its class) SCION xB 156 (worst in its class) SCION tC 172 (worst i its class)
The press rarely says anything bad about Toyota. With all the heat on safety, it seems like the press ougt to call Toyota out for building some of the most dangerous vehicles sold in this country. Only one Toyota car has a better than average safety rating - The Avalon. The Camry has a 110 injury loss rating (worse than average). The Matrix has the next to worst worst injury loss rating of any vehicle in its class. And here is one for irony - I am sure everyone remebers the IIHS offset crash test where the 4 Door Tundra did really well and the 4 door F150 sucked. Well in the real world the 4 Door F150 has a 59 injury loss rating (much better than average) and the 4 door Tundra has an 89 rating (better than average). So despite all the claims that the Tundra is "safer" than the Ford, the real world experience is the exact opposite.
Ed
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Uh-huh. Like you'd be any safer in a crApVEO.

Sure. "Media bias" is the last refuge of whiners, you know.

Are those Ford injury loss ratings adjusted for days the vehicle couldn't be driven because it was waiting for repairs?
In 2002, the IIHS report put the '99-'00 Rav4 as 5th best on the list of ALL vehicles, regardless of "class." That's pretty remarkable for a 2600 lb vehicle that's sharing the road with Hummers.
Between the winnners and the runner-ups, I don't recall seeing ANY GM, Chrysler or Ford cars on this list:
http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr112106.html
And, as I noted, the fuel economy of the crApVEO sucks. According to the IIHS, Yaris gets 34/39 and the crApVEO gets 26/34.
I banked more money again this month. No money spent on car repairs, again. My 4 Toyotas are a reliable way to get to the bank. It's so nice to get to the end of the year with more money in your pocket. And, should I decide to get a different car - a Toyota, of course - even my 8 year-old Toyota could be sold to make up a good down payment. My friends with Toyotas prefer that I drive Toyotas, that way I don't have to beg a ride to the dealer to pick up my car at the end of the day. My friends without Toyotas are often glad I have a Toyota, because they can beg a ride to the dealer to pick up their car at the end of the day.
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Who's whinning. The press goes easy on Toyota. Who recalled more veicle last year in the US - Ford or Toyota? I bet you think it was Ford. It wasn't. You'd never know that if you read the press. Which brand has the worst rated dealers - Ford or Toyota? Again, it isn't Ford. Which brand rated better in the latest JD Powers dependability study, Mercury or Toyota? Again it wasn't Toyota. Toyota did out scored Ford in the JP Powers initial quality survey, but do you really think the difference between 1.06 problems per car and 1.27 problems per car is significant?

Ha Ha. Various members of my family have owned Fords for as long as I can remember. I am a black sheep in that respect, since I have owned all sorts of vehicles (inlcuding a Toyota - a truly horrible car). My Father's old Ranger has needed only one repair in 8 years (a $50 IAC). My Mother's Freestyle has never been back to the dealer in the two years she owned it. Her old Grand Marquis never need a single repair in 8 years. My younger Sister's Escape has needed two repairs in the last 7 years - a windshield washer reservoir level sensor (warranty) and a cruise control cable ($13 - I installed it). My 1997 Expedition needed less than $350 worth of repairs in 6 years and 149,000 miles (one coil pack, one alternator, one multifunction stalk).

You are talking about the results of the IIHS crash testing, not real world statistics. Unfortunately, in the real world, the RAV4 has a terrible record (this only applies to 03-05 Models, I assume the 06-> models will be much better). The 03-05 models have an injury loss rating of 139 - not worst in class, but second worst. Only the Mitsubishi Highlander was worse in this classs (small 2WD SUVs). The best vehicle in the RAV4's class was the Ford Escape which had an 89 rating (lower is better, 100 is average for all vehicles combined). This points out the less than perfect value of the IIHS "special" tests. They make good television, but vehicles that do good in these IIHS tests don't necessarily do well in the real world. Toyota does a great jo of designing their vehicles to groove these IIHS tests and apparently a lousy job of building truly safe cars (at least in the past). Many Toyota vehciles are near the bottom of their classes. This is changing. As Toyota brings out completely new models they are doing much better. The new 4 Runner is almost as safe as a 4 door Ford Explorer. The new Avalon is doing well in the real world. Hopefully all of the Toyota models will at least have "average" injury loss ratings in the near future. However, many of the older designs are not particularly safe, no matter how well they do in the IIHS crash tests. IIHS's own statistics make this obvious.

The IIHS didn't put any cars on the list that don't offer electronic stability control, so that means a lot of cars weren't considered, no matter how well they did in other tests, or in real world statistics. The IIHS has a history of trying to force manufacturer's to add less than useful safety devices. They were on of the primary lobyist for ABS brakes, but finally admitted that they can't prove they are making cars safer. They lobbied for 5 mph bumpers and then finally admitted that they cost more than they were worth (unless you are an insurance company). They were all for third brake lights, which no one has ever tried to prove were actually making cars safer after every car had them (the studies that showed a positive safety advantage were based on taxi cabs, when they were the only vehicles which had them). They also pushed hard for air bags - which are probably a negative safety device in most situations, at least if you are using your seat belt. Popular mechanics recently ran a test were they compared accident avoidence manuvers with and without the electronic stability control turned on - most of the time, the ESC on resulted in worse performance even for an "Average" drvier.

I wasn't really talking about the Aveo specifically. You appeared to claim that Scions were going to steal a whole generation of drivers from GM and Ford. I was pointing out that Scion sales were in free fall. Toyota fans like to point out that Ford sales were down 8% year to year. Well Scion sales were down much more. So it seems that Scion sales aren't really much of a treat.

Why is it that Toyota owners think everyone else is spending a fortune on repairs? It has been at least 4 years since I had to actually pay for a repair on anything I drive (unfortunately I can't say the same for my son - but then driving cars throught the woods is not normal service). I had an alternator go out on an Expedition with 110,000 miles about 6 years ago. That is about the worst thing that has happened to me in this decade. In 10 years my sister's Honda has needed one set of plug wires and one muffler. I can assure you that the local repair shops see plenty of Toyotas needing work.
Ed
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You.
Sure you do. It gets reported. I'd rather Toyota recalled cars and fixed problems than ignored them, like GM.
Toyot buyers are probably more demanding and tend to downrate their dealers. I'm perfectly satisfied with my dealer.
I know how this is. I was satisfied with substandard performance from GM and Ford dealers until I switched to Volvos (much, much better) and Toyotas (perhaps not quite on par with Volvo dealers but still quite good).

Mercury makes up what percent of Ford sales? 10?

No. I'm talking about the real-world injury report. It was published in 2002. That's one of the reasons I bought the car.

crApVEO sales are down, too. GM's not winning the next generation with that car.

My local repair shop, they never had Toyotas on the lot or in the bays. It's all GM, Ford and Chrysler. Well, they get some Volvos (though not from me, anymore) and they're always happy to hear about people who buy VWs. They don't see me any more. I almost feel bad about this, they're nice guys. Still, there's enough GM, Ford and Chrylser loyalists to keep them from starving.
The service department at the local Toyota dealer IS usually busy. But the waiting room (which is very nice, has papers, internet, drinks) is usually full of people because they're waiting for their cars. They're all in for an express oil change, so they don't wait long (everybody seems to bring a coupon, too, so it's competitive with Looby-Lube).
Hear the jingling, Ed? That's money in my pocket(*).
(*) - Don't take that literally. The amount of money I saved makes more sense to carry around as paper bills and lots of them. "Jingle" is literary license.
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----- Original Message -----
Newsgroups: alt.autos.toyota Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 10:26 PM Subject: Re: GM, Ford sales plunge, Chrysler falls to No. 4

So? The fact that Mercury rated better than Toyota ougt to tell you something. It tells me there is not much different between Ford products and Toyota products and that most of the exaggerated claims of Toyota reliabilty are just that - exaggerated claims.

Can you give a reference? I look at the IIHS Injury loss rating regulalrly and Toyota's are often near the bottom of the list in the various categories. Only recently have they started to move up. Pre-2006 RAV4s always had a much worse than average injury loss ratings. Since my SO just bought a new RAV4, I hope the new one are much bettter.

Maybe not in the US, but the things are all over Mexico. Personally you couldn't give me one. But for that matter, I don't want a Yaris or Scion either.
> My local repair shop, they never had Toyotas on the lot or in the bays.

Maybe your local repair lot doesn't attract the Toytoa crowd. The nearest three repair shops to me in Raleigh claim to specialize in Japanese cars. Their lots are overflowing with Toyotas and there are no US products there at all. Take a good look around, I am sure you can find plenty of Toyota specialists that are making good money fixing Toyotas. Down at my farm, there is only one local repair shop. He gets plenty of Toyotas, and Ford, and Chevrolets - heck I've even seen a Lexus in there (and I didn't even know anyone in the area owned one -the nearest Lexus dealer is 50 miles away from there).

And you think this is different from people owning Fords? I do my own oil changes, so I don't actually spend much time at car dealers. The last time I was at the Ford store I dropped off my Thunderbird to have some magic stuff added to the automatic transmission fluid (an "optional" recall). Seemed like most of the people there were getting routine stuff done.
I just bought a Ford Fusion. A similar Camry would have cost me thousands more (plus I HATE the local Toyota dealers - they are less than ethical when it comes to pricing - $500 doc fees are ridiculous). My experinece with Fords has been very good. Why would I spend thousand more for a less comfortable car just becasue it is a Toyota? My SO didn't even consider anything but a Toyota when she bought her last car - a RAV4. It is a very nice car. I've driven it for about 1000 miles and my only complaints about the car are the excessive wind noise (at 70+ mph), the crummy seats (base model), and the wacky controls (I suppose you can get used to those). But, an equivalent Ford Escape would have cost at least $3000 less. I am sure you believe the RAV4 will be more reliable than the Escape, but this has certainly not been my Sister's experience. She has owned an Escape for the last 6 years and her total cost for reapirs has been less than $20 (one crusie control cable that I installed for free). So even if the RAV4 is 100% trouble free, is it really justifiable to spend several thousand dollars extra to avoid a $20 repair - or even a $300 repair? The next thing you will tell me is that you'll make it up on the resale value. Maybe this is true for some people, but for both my SO and my Sister, the resale value will be trivial by the time they actually replace the vehicles. Before the RAV4, my SO owned a Camry and a Chrsler mini-van. The Camry was still moving when she sold it, but it was leaking so much oil it was killing the grass where she parked. She got $400 from a Mexican guy for the car. The Chrsyler mini-van went straight to the junkyard (over 200,000 miles with a blown transmission) but she still got $300 for it. Hopefully the RAV4 will be at least as good as the Chrysler mini-van. At least for the RAV4 she doesn't plan to try and tow her 21 foot sailboat behind it (that is probably one reason the mini-van died + Jiffy Lube screwing up on a transmission oil change).
I don't think Toyotas are especially bad vehicles, I just don't think they are especially good either. Most Toyotas are "conservative" designs, well assembled, and somewhat over-priced. Last year when I needed a new pick-up for my farm I strongly considered a Tacoma. In the end I ended up with a Nissan Frontier becasue I could not justify paying another $300 for a Tacoma with less equipment. I am not particualrly happy with the Frontier, but I am not sure I would have been any happier with the Tacoma. The only way I could be sure would be to go out and swap the Frontier for a Tacoma and drive the Tacoma for a year - that is probably not going to happen.
Ed
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Actually, after a bit of thought, the answer to that question is almost certainly... Yaris. It's inexpensive enough to be cannibalizing Scion sales. Especially around here where the Toyota dealer also carries the Scion, in the same showroom.
Besides, it couldn't have anything to do with "worst safety records," as almost no one would know about that. You told us the press never reports anything bad about Toyota.

[ jingle, jingle... ]
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This is a good point. The Yaris sales increase (compared to "0" December 2005) was certainly greater than the total Scion sales decrease. It is hard to make direct comparisons. When Toyota first introduced the Scion brand it had seemed to have a negative impact on Echo, Corolla, and Celica sales. It would be hard to say whether the Scion decrease is directly related to the Yaris or not, but I suppose it could be. This begs the question, would Toyota be better off if they had just labeled the Scion models as Toyota models and ignored the whole "Scion" brand? I don't really see the point of the Scion brand. When they first introduced the brand, it was claimed it was intended to attract younger buyer, but most of the Scions I see are being driven my folks within 10 years of my age (old...). When my Son was looking for a car, he told me Scions were boring and that kids thought they were "crummy."

The press doesn't, but individuals do. My SO looked over the IIHS injury loss ratings when her Son was looking for a new car. I suggested the Scion tC (I actually think they are "cool"). She nixed that idea because of it's dismal injury loss rating. He nixed it because he thinks they are "boring." On the other hand, my SO still bought a RAV4 despite the RAV4s historically horrible injury loss rating. I think we both believe the new model RAV4 will be much better than the older, smaller models. She doesn't care that RAV4s are terminally boring.
Ed
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C. E. White wrote:

The Corolla did rather poorly.
For mini-cars, the Toyota Yaris was top-rated, and the Scion Xb did only slightly worse than the Chevy Aveo, with better front and rear ratings, but poorer side ratings due to the lack of side air bags. The Scion Xb is definitely a vehicle to avoid, due to the lack of side airbags.
"http://www.iihs.org/ratings/summary.aspx?class "
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You are talking about the IIHS ratings based on their specific crash tests. i was referring to the injury loss ratings which are compiled by insurance companies and used to rate cars for insurance purposes. The xB had a much worse than average injury loss rating, as did the Corolla. The Yaris is too new to have an injury loss rating yet.
Ed
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C. E. White wrote:

The injury loss ratings are almost meaningless in terms of actual safety.
Certain vehicles attract certain kinds of drivers, in terms of age, driving experience, ethnicity, personality, etc., so it's helpful for the insurance company to know the loss data.
Where the data may have some small relation to safety, is that the crash ratings don't take into account characteristics of the vehicle such as handling and braking, which may enable the avoidance of an accident in the first place.
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I agree with you to a point. However, do you think the sort of drivers that buy Accords are much different than the ones that buy Camrys? Or that people who buy RAV4 are a lot different than people that buy Escapes? If you beleive this, then Toyota must attract the worst drivers in the US.
Ed

So you prefer the results of some very specific, well defined and easily understood crash tests? I think you would do well to consider both. However, it raises a red flag in my mind when a vehicle does rally well in the IIHS crash test and then is absolute last in injury loss ratings within it category (i.e. the Tundra for one glaring example). Even IIHS warns people that you can't compare crash result between vehciles of difference sizes, but then they give excellent ratings to little cars that have horrible injury loss ratings.
Ed
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C. E. White wrote:

Not for Accord versus Camry, but definitely for RAV4 versus Escape.
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Where does one find this information? I tried searching and perusing the IIHS.org website, but didn't see a table of injury loss ratings. TIA.
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wrote:

http://www.iihs.org/brochures/ictl/ictl.html
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Thanks. Toyota models summarized below; lower numbers better.
injury collision theft 4Runner 85 76 78 4Runner 4wd 75 75 59 Avalon 79 83 ? Camry 110 91 60 Celica 153 179 91 Corolla 159 116 56 Echo 189 118 28 Highlander 88 63 62 Highlander 4wd 73 68 25 Matrix 146 113 34 Matrix 4wd 125 112 ? Prius 70 100 13 RAV4 139 108 96 RAV4 4wd 123 104 54 Scion tC 172 229 63 Scion xA 178 134 30 Scion xB 156 115 85 Sequoia 76 70 80 Sequoia 4wd 73 71 100 Sienna 79 76 31 Sienna 4wd 58 85 22 Solara 116 111 56 Solara ragtop 95 84 ?
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You should note that these numbers are for 2003-2005 Models. Some of the vehicles (like the RAV4) have been completely redesigned and the old numbers are how meaningless for the newer models. In other cases, little has changed (Corolla, Matrix, Scion models).
Ed
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     snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com "Jim Higgins" writes:

Dear me, I may shed a tear or two.
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