Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Auto Makers Close Books on Awful Year, Face More Ills

U.S. auto sales tumbled again in December, capping one of the worst years for the industry in decades and solidifying the view that more turmoil lies ahead in 2009.

For the month, sales of cars and light trucks fell 36% to 896,124 vehicles, according to Autodata Corp, a Woodcliff Lake, N.J., research firm. That is an improvement over both November and October; still, it was the fourth month in a row that sales failed to exceed one million vehicles.

For the full year, U.S. auto sales declined 18% to 13.24 million vehicles -- the lowest total since 1992, Autodata said.

Continuing the pattern of recent months, December's vehicle sales fell as cash-strapped Americans simply stayed away from dealerships or had difficulty securing auto loans. For many consumers, worries about losing their jobs and sinking home values trumped the year-end rebates and financing deals auto makers rolled out in the last few weeks...More

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