People kept buying cars in September, even though the Cash for Clunkers incentive program was over. September sales figures were only about 10 to 15 percent lower, as the noise surrounding the Clunkers program had people thinking about cars. But this still means the pace of sales was much lower than last year — typically 15 percent lower. General Motors had the largest decline, off 45 percent from last year, while Kia and Hyundai bucked the trend with 24 and 27 percent increases from a year ago.
Industry analysts are expecting October sales to bounce back to summer-like levels, but that’s probably just wishful thinking. With cars out of the news and consumer incomes squeezed further, October auto sales could easily fall to a new low.