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Auto Sales Numbers: No One's Even Looking To Buy

Auto sales drop
CNBC.com
Auto sales drop

How bad is the auto business right now? Every automaker is feeling the pain, not just the Detroit 3. In the last week, showroom traffic (people simply visiting a dealership) is down 50% compared to the same time last year.

One executive told me sales have not been this poor since the recession of '81. You get the point. Auto sales have not come to a screeching halt, but you can definitely see the skid marks. Check out these numbers:

  • GM down 16%
  • Ford down 34%
  • Toyota down 29%

All of those should send a shudder through the halls of Congress. Auto sales have plunged in the last week as Washington's inability to pass a bailout plan has clearly spooked consumers. And for good reason.

You may be interested in buying a new car, but why would you even try to do it right now? The tight credit market makes it tougher to get an auto loan, and if you get one, will it be at a rate you'll want to pay?

I'm not trying to sound like a guy yelling fire in a theater. I'm simply relaying what I'm hearing from dealers across the country. They're facing some of the toughest times they've seen in 25 years and even optimists in the business are unwilling to say that it won't get even worse.

    • Senate Approval Predicted; House Likely to Vote Friday
    • Major Automakers See Sales Fall as Credit Tightens

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Click on Ticker to Track Corporate News:

- Ford Motor

- General Motors

- Nissan

- Honda Motor

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Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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