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)
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