6 Jan 2009

US car makers' December sales down

3:22 pm on 6 January 2009

Chrysler, General Motors and Ford confirm big falls in their sales of vehicles in the United States for December.

Chrysler reported on Monday that sales were down by 53% in December and 30% for all of 2008.

General Motors said US sales were down by 31% for the month and 23% for the year.

Ford posted a drop of 32% in domestic sales in December. Total sales for the year were down by 20% to barely 2 million vehicles.

However, Ford estimates that it increased its share of the US market to 14.6% from 13.9% in December of 2007.

General Motors said it expected to a domestic market share of just above 22%, about five percentage points higher than its nearest competitor, Toyota Motor Corp.

The sales figures were the first since the US Treasury extended $US8 billion in loans to General Motors and Chrysler to avoid a cash crunch.

Last year was the worst for the industry since 1974. Total domestic sales about 13.5 million vehicles, down from almost 16.2 million in 2007.