Third Strike: Used-Truck Values Clobber GMAC, Too

Last Updated Aug 2, 2008 4:23 PM EDT

gmac_logo_300.bmpAdd GMAC Financial Services to the list of auto finance companies dragged down by the drop in the value of used pickups and SUVs coming off of leases, along with Ford Credit and Chrysler Financial.

It looks like Art Spinella at CNW Marketing Research had it right when he warned last month that auto lenders were about to take a big hit on used-truck values.

Overall, GMAC had a second-quarter net loss of about $2.5 billion, a slightly smaller loss than a $2.8 billion loss in the year-ago quarter.

GMAC's global automotive finance business reported a net loss of $717 million in the second quarter of 2008, versus a net profit of $395 million a year-ago. This year's quarterly result included a $716 million write-off in the value of leased vehicles.

"The impairment of operating leases resulted from the sharp decline in demand and used vehicle sale prices for sport-utility vehicles and trucks in the U.S. and Canada, which has affected GMAC's remarketing proceeds for these vehicles," the company said on July 31.

In other words, GMAC is not getting as much money as it expected for used SUVs and pickups that come back at the end of a lease.

Last week, Ford Credit had a $2 billion write-off on the value of its leased vehicles, and Chrysler Financial announced it would quit writing new leases effective Aug. 1.

GMAC also suffered a second-quarter net loss of $1.9 billion for its real estate finance subsidiary, ResCap, versus a net loss of $254 million in the year-ago period. ResCap was heavily invested in subprime mortgages.

That's bad news for Cerberus Capital Management, which has majority stakes in both Chrysler LLC and GMAC.