Tuesday, July 1, is shaping up to be one of the darkest days in decades for the U.S. auto industry.
Automakers will likely report June sales declines that underscore just how much consumer demand for vehicles -- especially for the heavy sort that were once dear to the Detroit 3 -- has declined as the economy has worsened and the price of gasoline has risen.
Analysts are projecting seasonally adjusted annualized sales rates for June of between 12.5 million and 14.3 million. In June 2007, that number was 15.8 million. The annualized rate for May 2008 was 14.3 million vehicles.
Tuesday also could bring news that Toyota Motor Corp. passed General Motors in U.S. market share for June. In May, GMs market share was 19.2 percent, just 0.8 percentage points more than Toyotas. Toyota has seen declining sales but not anywhere near the pace of the Detroit 3.
Of the major automakers, only American Honda Motor Co. has been posting sales gains.
A sense of how bad the carnage is will emerge Tuesday just before 1 p.m. EDT, when Ford Motor Co. releases its June numbers. GM is scheduled to release its sales data around 1:45 p.m. Chrysler LLCs numbers wont come until later in the afternoon.
A Toyota spokesman said the company expects to release sales data in the early afternoon.
In anticipation of the bad news, the stock prices of GM, Ford and their suppliers slumped today. GM shares fell to $10.57 this morning, their lowest price in more than 50 years. GM shares were trading at $11.14 just after 2 p.m. Ford shares hit a 52-week low at $4.46 this morning. Ford was trading at $4.73 this afternoon.
Here are the annualized June sales estimates released by various analysts:
Wachovia Capital Markets: 12.5 million
JPMorgan: 13.7 million
Citigroup: Below 13 million
Lehman Brothers: 13.3 million
University of Maryland: 14.3 million
J.D. Power: 12.5 million
Reuters contributed to this report