) -- Domestic vehicle sales dipped in September but will likely bounce back during the fourth quarter, a top
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executive said Wednesday.
"Just as August was an abnormal month because of Cash for Clunkers, so is September, because there's a certain degree of pull forward," said Mark Fields, Ford president for the Americas, speaking at an analyst meeting in Dearborn. "We have to keep the September numbers in relative perspective as they come in."
September sales are due to be reported Thursday.
Fields said the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate will likely fall to the 9 million to 9.5 million range for September, but should bounce back to between 10.5 million and 11 million for the full year. "The metrics we're looking at in terms of GDP growth, discretionary income (and other measures), generally they are pulling in the right direction," he said. Additionally, the impact of federal stimulus money, slow to reach the vehicle market, should boost the truck market, where Ford is strong, he said.
A September decline has been widely expected, after Cash for Clunkers pushed the August seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales to about 14.5 million vehicles. The program helped to fund about 690,000 new vehicle sales, mostly in August, by providing $3 billion in incentives. Experts said some number of the sales would have occurred anyway in future months. Fields said Thursday that about 50% of the sales came from future months, while the other half likely would not have occurred.
Without the program, the August sales rate would have been about 10.5 million, Ford said. In 2010, Both Ford and
expect domestic vehicle sales to be in the 12.5 million range.
-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.