October auto sales in US plunge to lows not seen in decades

Nov 03, 2008 | 12:55 PM | Michael Cowden

U.S. auto sales sank to new lows in October for both domestic and foreign automakers in the face of what several said were the worst economic conditions they had seen in decades.

Sales by most automakers plunged by double digits across nearly all brands and vehicle type, with even fuel-efficient car sales slammed by growing economic turmoil. General Motors Corp. was perhaps hardest hit, with last month's sales off 45 percent compared with October 2007.

GM reported October sales of 168,719 cars and light trucks compared with 307,408 in the same month last year, putting year-to-date sales at 2,603,828 vehicles, down 20.6 percent from the first 10 months of 2007.

"If you adjust for population growth, this is probably the worst industry sales month in the post-World War II era," Mark LaNeve, vice president, GM North America vehicle sales, service and marketing, said in a statement Monday. "Until the credit markets open up and consumer confidence improves, the entire U.S. economy, and any industry like autos that relies on financing, will suffer."....

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