U.S. auto sales plunged by 4.7 percent in April, a significantly greater decline than industry analysts had expected, and the fourth consecutive month that demand has fallen for new cars, trucks and autos.
The news appears to signal that, after seven years of steady growth — including three consecutive years of record sales — the American motor vehicle market has hit the top of its game.
So just how far will the market drop in 2017 and beyond? That could determine not only whether industry earnings have also peaked, but whether manufacturers will ramp up the pace of production cuts and layoffs they've ordered in recent months.
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Anything beyond the modest sales dip many have been forecasting, several insiders warn, could impact the broader economy and, in particular, make it more difficult for President Donald Trump to encourage auto manufacturers and suppliers to bring back plants — and jobs — from abroad.