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Car Sales Have Fallen Off a Cliff

October 8, 2009

The Cash for Clunkers program boosted car sales for a while, but now that it's over, many car manufacturers aren't doing so well. There are some brands that have managed to increase their sales since the same time last year, but they're the exception rather than the rule. In general, September car sales have gone down a whopping 35-50% compared to August.

For those planning on purchasing a car, now is looking to be a much better time to buy. From the beginning of October to the end of this year, you can expect to find sweet incentives on brands such as Chrysler, GM, Honda, and Toyota. With rates continuing as they are, automakers should go to great lengths to attract consumers.

Here is how some top manufacturers are performing when it comes to sales:

Chrysler - After going bankrupt, Chrysler sales were down 42% compared to last September.

Ford - Ford's sales decreased only 5% last month, thanks to its newly redesigned Taurus. This year, however, hasn't been so great - its sales have been down 22% compared to the year before.

GM - GM experienced a decline of 45% last month, mainly because of a shrinking inventory after Cash for Clunkers.

Honda - Honda sales were down by 23%. The only model that showed any increase was the Pilot.

Hyundai - One of the few manufacturers that continues to do well in this market. Hyundai sales increased 27% last month.

Nissan - Their sales decreased by 7%, although some of its models - the Nissan Maxima, Pathfinder, 370Z, Frontier, and Infiniti QX56, for example - actually saw an increase.

Subaru - Subaru increased one percent over last September, thanks to its redesigned Outback and Legacy models. Its success is continuing well into 2009, with an increase of 10 percent.

Toyota - Even though its Lexus division went up by 7 percent last month, Toyota's overall sales have decreased 16 percent.

See the lowest prices on a vehicle in your area (plus see the actual incentives you qualify for)
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My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle, Edmunds Price Promise, and 1-800 Car Show are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.

California Residents - Important:

There is a new online car buying service called Roadster, available only to California residents, which I highly recommend you try - especially if you hate the stress of haggling with a car salesman. They provide an expert concierge who negotiates the price of the car and delivers it to your home with zero hassle - you never have to interact with a dealership. Here is my in-depth review of Roadster and why I recommend it.

- Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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