U.S. car sales recorded a sixth straight monthly drop of more than 30 percent in March, while car makers pointed to a sales rebound in the last week of the month.
General Motors dealers in the United States delivered 156,380 vehicles in March, down 45 percent compared with a year ago. Ford, Lincoln and Mercury sales totaled 125,107 in March, down 41 percent compared with March 2008. Chrysler’s sales dropped 39 percent to 101,001.
Toyota reported month-end sales of 132,802 vehicles, a decrease of 36.6 percent from March last year. Honda reported a 36 percent sales drop to 88,379. Nissan declined 38 percent to 66,636.
Car makers were encouraged by signs that consumers were starting to trickle back into showrooms. The top five manufacturers all reported narrower year-on-year declines compared with February.
“Sales for GM and the industry showed signs of life at the end of the month compared with January and February,” said Mark LaNeve, vice president of General Motors North America Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing.
General Motors and Ford both announced programs on Tuesday to cover car payments for buyers who lose their jobs.