December auto sales showed that while GM and Chrysler sales fell, Ford sale increased 33%.
The difference between GM/Chrysler and Ford? That's easy: Ford didn't require any bailout money and therefore, is still a publicly owned and traded company with little debt and independent of the Feds. GM and Chrysler, on the other hand, are partially owned by the Feds, having received billions in bailout funds, stiffing the bond holders in the process, and handing a portion of GM over to the UAW.
I've been a Mopar man all my life, having owned a number of great Chrysler Corporation cars and trucks, including my present 2000 Dodge Intrepid. But sadly, that love affair has ended. I have a feeling my next car will likely be a Ford, or maybe a Toyota if I can't find a Ford I like (which is unlikely).
It doesn't help either GM or Chrysler that a number of their better performing dealerships were closed at government insistence. If the allegations are true, most of the closed dealership were owned by Republicans (a little payback from the Obama Administration, perhaps?), and some of the surviving dealerships weren't all that good - not having the sales or the good reputation the closed dealerships enjoyed - or in locations that weren't convenient for potential customers.
A comment to a related post over at the Volokh Conspiracy says it all:
I was in a Ford dealership last week, and saw a car on display with a big “NO BAILOUT NEEDED” sign in the windshield. Sounds like they realize it resonates well with customers.