Today, Auto News reported that the total overall sales of pickup trucks reached record numbers in August 2008, the highest they’ve been this year. To further add to our giddiness, it appears as though the buzzards have begun circling over a new malnourished desert wanderer: the compact car. In May, full-size pick-up sales accounted for 9.1% of industry sales while small cars accounted for 29.0%. In August, those figures shifted from from 9.1% to 13.2% and from 29.0% to 22.5%, respectively.
The surge in truck sales is somewhat attributed to the cost of fuel, which held at a steady $3.50 for most of last month, but industry analysts suggest that ridiculously attractive incentives played a larger role since many auto manufacturers offered practically everything including their first born to any prospective buyers.
Although the Chevrolet Silverado lead the troops in the small victory over the compact car, GM isn’t celebrating – yet. Explained Mark LaNeve, GM’s vice president of sales and marketing, “At some point, gang, the market bottoms. Nobody knows when the hell it is…I’d like to think it was June and July, and we’re starting to crawl our way out of this thing.” Like GM, Ford and Toyota are indulging in a guarded optimism, and are still left to deal with the financial ramifications of offering drastic incentives to buyers. Although GM isn’t anticipating much of a loss due to the mediocre success of their employee pricing gambit, executives at Ford are bracing for the backlash from their Big Bob’s Flea Market style of clearing the lot. After completely revised production plans stopped just short of sending the entire Ford large-vehicle lineup to the proverbial glue factory, Ford began offering an average of $9,000 cash back on all F-series pick-ups. Although we are certainly rallying for the Ford we’ve come to know and love, we can’t help but shake our heads winsomely and lament how poor are they that have not patience.