For the First Time in Nearly 12 Years - Ford Spanks GM.

Wow, yes, I know I have been accused of GM bashing (even though I bought their products again last fall) but really for the last three years, I have really been more of an Alan Mulally (Ford) supporter, and am simply frustrated at GM's unwillingness to follow a model for success. Besides, my Ford stock is once again doing great and my GM stock, well, no so much...

Today, sales figures for February 2010 were announced and for the first time since 1998 Ford overtook GM for the monthly sales lead.  This time, unlike then, there are no peripherals (like a Delphi strike) for GM to blame.  Kudos to Ford on their successes.  They haven't beaten GM in sales since 1931, nearly 80 years.  GM still leads by a substantial margin after two months.  Could 2010 be the year it happens again?

Oh yeah. Hello, Toyota. Are you back there? I haven't seen numbers yet for last year's champ but they have to be feeling Honda's breath on their shoulders.

Another ominous note: Suzuki is down 61% for the month to just 1375 units and just 3418 units YTD. That annualizes at just 20,508 units. Considering that much of Suzuki's business is Special Finance, and that SF IS in full swing, that really does not bode well. 

Another amazing month for Subaru, and BMW as well.  BMW is now outselling Mazda (who is also up YTD), and Subaru has passed them both.  Simply amazing.

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Dont know if I would call it spanked, it was 400ish units.
It is all semantics!

Even if it is just by one unit, it has been a long, long time since it last happened, and that was when GM's product supply was severely impacted by a strike. This time no excuses.

Oh wait a minute, Susan Docherty pointed out that it is apples and oranges comparing GM this year to GM last year since now they only have four brands compared to eight last year.

Well, this year's numbers DID include Saab. Also, I don't know how she could look a GM dealer in the eyes and say that. Just because GM arbitrarily offed Pontiac, Hummer, Saturn and Saab doesn't mean that the dealer that no longer has those franchises can eliminate that many sales per year and not severely impact their bottom line. Sheesh! With 'spin' like that I can see why her role was just reduced to marketing only.

Thanks for the info as always. I would like to point out one small altering viewpoint to your post; namely, that Suzuki is primarily a "Special Finance" manufacturer. Actually, most of the volume Suzuki dealers are more focused on prime credit and finding success with this model. The main challenge with Suzuki is that we have little support for the brand despite what I feel to be some really AMAZING product. When it is up to the individual dealers to promote the brand, you end up with the results you mention for February.

What Suzuki needs is more "good" dealers that will represent the product in a more positive light than what has happened over the last three to five years. Unfortunately, Suzuki is dealing with the ramifications of poor dealer point choices. I would have done things MUCH differently had I been running the operations for ASMC, but it "is what it is." That said, Suzuki does have a killer product that people want to drive and own - at least in my neck of the woods. I only hope that we can attract more quality dealers to represent and sell the brand. It's a good one.

Just sayin' with all due respect...


I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. The problem Suzuki has is that they have very, very few shining star dealers that can sell the product for what it is, and most of the rest treat it as a red-headed step child that ultimately becomes a get-me done vehicle. With that, most aren't sharp enough to get-them-done, to boot.

What you, Scott and the crew have done with it is simply amazing, but, my fear is that Suzuki is going to be very hard pressed to find enough dealers that can do 33% of what you do in time to turn the decline around. You know I am on your side (and that of the strong Suzuki dealers) but I can't imagine how badly they are bleeding selling 1700 cars a month.

Best regards,
Fair enough... I don't disagree with your comments... Very frustrating to sell a product successfully and have to deal with the unknown...
No doubt...and it is a very good product, too.
Brothers in arms.. Coming Mid-April... :-)
Greg (I bash GM but still buy their product):):

I would absolutely agree with you that the model before BK was flawed and I did not agree with shutting down all the stores (obviously we lost one). However, I would think that the dealer body has been very pleased with the progress of things since BK. Who can argue with their line of products that they keep developing?

We are a Chevy Dealer and they have had BIG victories in the release of the Malibu, Traverse, Camaro, and Equinox!! I know you said they have no excuses, but I would like for you to find me a dealer that is not SUPER SHORT on inventory. Most Chevy Dealers are lucky to have 3 Equinoxes in stock (our best selling product).

I know you now have a permanent back page reserved for GM in Auto Dealer Monthly, BUT I think you are going to have a hard time thinking of different ways to bash them come this Summer. If I am wrong, you can remind me of this post. If I am right, show us some love!
GM will beat Ford for 2010 no excuses. Both have sterling products but Ford has done a better job with the supply chain.
The confusion at GM is astonishing. Lutz promotes Nesbitt to head of Cadillac. Whitacre sends him back to the design department. Lutz "Retires."

Steve Girsky, while a member of the government's Auto Task Force is the instigator of the arbitrary dealer terminations. Whitacre indicates he is anxious to see as many as 1000 dealers reinstated through the arbitration process. Then Girsky ends up on GM's board of directors. These are a bunch of clowns. Docherty is in, now she's out. Reuss is an engineer, but now in charge of sales. LaNeve is in, LaNeve is out. Is George Steinbrenner running GM?

Check out this article ... I think the dealers are happy. They are making some moves on the corporate side to make a more EFFICIENT company. Give it a few months ... it is only March.
I confess I plan to get in as early as possible when GM IPOs. But I will get out just as quickly and certainly "stop loss" any stock purchase.

We had some interesting discussions at the Conference of Auto Remarketing the last two days. Maryann Keller was one of the speakers, as well as an economist from Ford. There is a definite lack of confidence in Whitacre, at this point. Did Nesbitt fail in 7 months? Docherty? What does Lutz REALLY think? Was he just fed up with Whitacre? These are questions on people's minds. Even Keller is groping to make sense of things, and in my mind she is the world's greatest authority on the auto business. I've been following her for over 25 years. She knows a lot of the players personally.

Steve Finlay from WARDS DEALER BUSINESS recently outed Steve Girsky as the father of the dealer terminations. Now Girsky is named to GM's board while Whitacre is embracing the idea of up to a thousand dealer re-instatements. There seems to be a built in conflict here. I have more questions than answers. Keller emphatically says the dealer terminations were a mistake, even though she acknowledges there were too many. Natural attrition would have taken care of it, or a process closer to Ford's would have been fine.

Ed Tonkin was a speaker and weighed in, although he is walking a fine line. Should NADA advocate against or for previous NADA members who paid dues for years? He was a little nebulous when asked that question publicly. Yes, I was probably the loudest mouth in the room.

Courtney, you'd make a great speaker or panelist at one of these conferences!


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