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Auto sales headed for a weak month

first_imgJesse Toprak, chief economist for the auto information site Edmunds.com, predicts Honda Motor Co. will be the only automaker to report an increase in sales, helped by the arrival of the 2008 Honda Accord. Automakers are scheduled to report September sales Tuesday. “No one is immune to this general weakness we have in the marketplace,” Toprak said. Auto sales will probably be down 4 percent compared with last September, JPMorgan auto analyst Himanshu Patel said. Patel predicts Ford Motor Co. will be among the weakest performers, with double-digit declines from last September, as the automaker cut back on incentives as well as sales to rental car companies. Patel said GM should be flat while Chrysler LLC will also see some declines. Ford’s slide in U.S. market share should be a source of concern for investors, Lehman Brothers analyst Brian Johnson said. Johnson said Ford’s retail sales – which don’t include sales to rental, government or corporate fleets – are down about 10 percent for the year, as Ford’s aging F-150 faced increasing competition from newly redesigned GM pickups, the new Toyota Tundra and high incentive spending on the Dodge Ram. The success of Ford’s crossovers are also eating into sales of its midsize sport utility vehicles, Johnson said. After a slight uptick in August sales, September will fall back into the sluggish pace the industry saw in June and July.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! By Dee-Ann Durbin THE ASSOCIATED PRESS DETROIT – September auto sales are expected to be weak due to a credit crunch, high gas prices and the troubled housing market, reflecting an overall slowdown for the year but little effect from the brief strike against General Motors, industry analysts say. Indeed, the effects of the two-day strike could be small in what could become the most sluggish year for sales since 1998, according to industry experts. last_img read more