The sales figures for the all-important September plate-change have just been released, but most manufacturers will be wishing that they hadn’t been.
Across all segments, sales were down by a whopping 21.2 per cent, or almost 90,000 units compared to September 2007, making this the worst single fall ever recorded.
The news was made worse by the fact the figures show a big swing from profitable large cars to low-margin small ones, with both SUVs and luxury cars down by over 40 per cent, while sales of city cars grew by 17 per cent.
The hardest hit manufacturer was Chrysler, with sales across the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands dropping by 56.3 per cent. Renault endured an even worse month, dropping 50.8 per cent compared to the same month last year – a fall of over 10,000 units.
Indeed, the combined French decline of over 21,000 units in a single month accounted for 23.7% of the total sales fall. At last week’s Paris Show, Renault boss Carlos Ghosn said that these were the worst conditions since 1929 – and these figures confirm his view.