Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chrysler News:Automakers' U.S. Sales Tumbled In Dec.Chrysler Hit Hardest, With 53% Plunge

Chrysler's U.S. sales plunged 53% from a year earlier in December and other top automakers' sales shrank more than 30%, as the industry finished off its worst year since 1992 on a low point.

Chrysler said Monday that it will offer additional discounts after sales sank to 89,813 vehicles last month. Ford's (NYSE:F - News) sales dropped 32% to 138,458 and GM's 31% to 220,030.

Toyota's sales plunged 37% from December 2007 to 141,949 vehicles, Honda's (NYSE:HMC - News) 35% to 86,085 and Nissan's 31% to 62,102.

Worries about rising unemployment, a deepening recession and the credit crunch have led consumers to put the brakes on auto purchases, driving Chrysler and GM to the brink of bankruptcy and likely sending Toyota to its first operating loss in 71 years.

"The main reason why we are where we are is because of consumer confidence," said Jesse Toprak, executive director of industry analysis for auto site Edmunds.com.

Consumer confidence fell to a record low in December, and jobless claims hit a 26-year high amid a recession that began in December 2007.

Also on Monday, Porsche said sales fell 25.5% in December to 2,154 vehicles, while Daimler's sales fell 23.5% to 20,848 vehicles.

Stocks opened lower on Monday and stayed there, reacting little to the expected plunge in auto sales. The Dow fell 0.9%, the S&P 500 lost 0.5% and the Nasdaq declined 0.3%....More

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