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Auto Sales Numbers Are Just Plain UGLY

Ugly Auto Sales
CNBC.com
Ugly Auto Sales

We knew they would be bad, and they were. In fact, February auto sales make it clear, the consumer is tired, nervous, worried: you-fill-in-the-adjective.

Look at the numbers:

GM down 16.7 percent (including trucks down more than 22 percent)
Ford down 10.6 percent
Toyota down 6.6 percent.
Nissan down 3.2 percent.

Of the big 6 automakers, only Honda eked out positive sales (up 0.7 percent)

Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
F
---
GM
---
7267.T
---
7203.T
---

Why the slowdown? I blame the plunging consumer confidence, expected higher gas prices, and automakers holding the line on incentives (hey, they're gonna cut production before they sell cars at a loss). Talk about the triple whammy hitting home.

Want more? Now GM Vice Chair Bob Lutz is saying a second half rebound is, "By No Means Certain." Meanwhile Ford is cutting a shift at 4 plants and laying off 2,500 workers. (Video clips are on GM and Ford).

Don't tell me February is a low volume month that doesn't matter? When I talk with dealers they tell me how sales are slowing down. So you tell me, what are your neighbors telling you? Are they putting off buying a new car? Don't be surprised if the answer is yes. These are tough times to try and sell a car...as February showed us.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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