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Auto Sales Number Could Tell Us How Bad Industry Is

auto_sales_down.jpg
CNBC.com

Later today, the February auto sales will come out. By all accounts, the numbers will likely be awful. Not just lower, but in the words of one industry veteran, "terrible." We'll have to wait and see what the actual numbers are, but I won't be surprised to see industry sales down 10 percent.

This is coming at a time when the latest data shows gasoline consumption has dropped (meaning people/transportation companies are clearly driving less) and gas prices are expected to surge higher ($4.00 a gallon) creates a bleak picture for the auto industry.

There are still those predicting a rebound in the second half of this year, but there's also a growing chorus echoing the views of Chrysler President Jim Press. Friday, Press said he believes industry sales will be weaker and doesn't buy into a second half surge.

The first February sales numbers come out at noon EST, and by 1:45, we will get a sense of just how bad last month was. Is this finally the "storm" of bad news many in the industry have been fearing would come if the economy slowed down?

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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