Wednesday, February 4, 2009

January Car Sales - Horrible

Just when you thought it couldn't get worse for the auto makers, it did.  According to the Wall Street Journal "Sales by the Big Three US auto makers plunged to the lowest levels in decades."  The level is so demoralizing that the Journal has abandoned its usual effort to find the precise year that car sales were this bad.  So we're left wondering if the "lowest level in a century" is just around the corner, assuming, that the government is willing to keep supporting Detroit.

Chrysler's US sales fell 55% compared to January 2008, while General Motors sales were off 49%.  Ford managed to eek out a mere 40% decline.  These declines were steeper than expected and were blamed on sharply lower purchases by fleet operators as well as the inability of consumers to obtain car loans.  Industrywide, car sales were down 37% to 656,976 from January 2008.  Not only was this the lowest total since December 1981 but it was the first time that US sales were lower than in China.     

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