Please Note: Blog posts are not selected, edited or screened by Seeking Alpha editors.

September Auto Sales Sashay By: David Silver

|Includes:DDAIF, Ford Motor Company (F), HMC, TM, VLKAF
September Sales Sashay
By: David Silver, Research Analyst
Looking back at September auto sales there are two things to keep in my mind. First is that it is cycling an “easy “ comparison going up against the hangover month of September 2009, the month following the cash for clunkers program. Second is that data has pointed to a weakening economy, or at least an economy that saw its growth rate fall from the first six months of the year. We fully expected to see mid-teen to low 20’s percent growth compared to the previous September, however, the biggest surprise in our mind was Chrysler. Last year, the Company was one of the biggest losers from the cash for clunkers program as the Company doesn’t have many small, more fuel efficient vehicles. As a result, the “hangover effect” was relatively muted and the 60.9% growth blew away my expectations (+34.1%). Additionally, while there is historically a drop from August to September sales, Chrysler was able to keep sales rate flat from the previous month. Taking a look at the rest of the industry it was another so-so quarter, with sales dropping from August for most companies. Ford and Chrysler (and a select few luxury brands) were the only two to see sales improve from the previous month. A portion of the benefit during the month (for the industry) can be attributed to the Labor Day Holiday. Yes, Labor Day always falls in September, however, it was so late this year that sales were not likely to be pulled forward into August. 
Change Y/Y
Change M/M
Year to Date Change
General Motors
Ford Motor Company
Toyota Motor Company
Nissan Motor Company
Honda Motor Company
Click to enlarge
Auto makers sold 958,966 cars and light trucks last month compared to 746,104 a year ago, according to researcher Autodata Corp. Year-ago sales were damped by the end of the U.S. government's "cash for clunkers" incentive program.
Chrysler sold 100,077 vehicles in September. It was the sixth consecutive month Chrysler reported a year-over-year increase in sales, and the second in 2010 that sales exceeded the 100,000-unit threshold. Chrysler has sold 820,220 vehicles year-to-date. The auto maker needs to sell 280,000 vehicles over the next three months to hit Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne's target of selling 1.1 million vehicles in the U.S. in 2010. Ford truck sales jumped 43% while sport-utility vehicles surged 61% and cars climbed 40%. In one of the best signals for the economy, truck sales are 28.9% higher through the first nine months of 2010 compared to 2009.  
This was just one of those months; it wasn’t too good but it wasn’t too bad. The Labor Day holiday was relatively strong for the Company (especially when compared to 2009), but it was a quarter that neither proved nor contradicted the trends that have been occurring over the past few months. There were pockets of strength, but then again, there were pockets of weakness. It appears that many automakers are just trying to bide time before some new models hit the market over the next few months.
IPO Update
This month did little to help make General Motors more attractive for the potential IPO. The road show to stimulate interest in the eventual sale of General Motors to the public is set to get underway anytime now; however, there are still plenty of risks that could prevent a successful IPO. Rumors lately have been that the IPO level will be approximately $8-$10 billion. We had hoped that the government’s stake (61%) would be reduced by approximately $8-$10 billion, but it seems that the government is likely to only liquidate approximately $4-$6 billion. I still wouldn’t be a buyer of this new IPO. The hope is that the Company will IPO during November after the midterm elections.
The other of Detroit’s Big Three that entered bankruptcy, Chrysler, has also been knocking around the IPO idea. CEO Sergio Marchionne indicated that it would probably be in a piecemeal fashion. Mr. Marchionne has been relatively on point since being named the CEO of Chrysler and Fiat. Chrysler continues to flounder without a product lineup that includes the smaller more fuel efficient vehicles. The Company did well during the month of September as SUV and light truck sales were on the rise. However, another spike in fuel prices and sales of the Cherokee, Ram and Charger will suffer. The Fiat 500 and the Alfa Romero are slated to be released in the states but they are entering a relatively crowded marketplace. Chrysler doesn’t face quite the international pressures that General Motors does which could make it slightly more attractive come IPO time. That being said, we don’t expect the Chrysler IPO until the middle of 2011.
Disclosure: Ford (NYSE:F) Long
Disclaimer: All investment entails inherent risk. Wall Street Strategies' research seeks to assist investors in determining when to buy and when to sell to attempt to maximize profits or minimize losses. All final investment decisions are yours and as a result you could make or lose money. Wall Street Strategies, its employees and/or its affiliates and family members may from time to time take positions in the open market or otherwise with respect to the securities discussed. Wall Street Strategies, its employees and/or affiliates do not have stock ownership equal to or greater than 1% of the outstanding stock of the covered company nor does any employee of Wall Street Strategies sit on the Board of Directors of any covered company. The analyst does not own shares in any of the companies listed above. Wall Street Strategies is not a broker/dealer, and the firm does not underwrite securities, manage assets or provide investment banking activities. The statements made herein include information obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but no independent verification has been made and we do not guarantee its accuracy or completeness. The statements made herein contain general information and do not constitute an offer to buy or sell any security.

Disclosure: F Long