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Major Automakers' US Car Sales Plunge in May


Several major car manufacturers say their U.S. sales in May were down from the same month a year ago.

General Motors reported a 30-percent drop, Nissan was down 33 percent, while Ford saw a 24-percent annual drop. Toyota reported a decline of around 40 percent.

The news was mixed though, as Ford and GM sales for May were better than the previous month.

GM Chief Executive Fritz Henderson says he is modestly encouraged by the struggling automaker's latest sales figures.

He says the number of people visiting GM car dealerships was reasonably good.

Henderson says even though industry-wide sales of the smallest, most fuel efficient cars are slow, consumers are still seeking compact and mid-sized cars with high fuel efficiency.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP
Major car manufacturers' U.S. sales plunged in May, but economists say overall results for the auto industry are better than expected.

U.S. automakers and three leading foreign car companies all reported sharp sales drops in May - from 24 percent to 47 percent - compared to sales in the same month a year ago.

General Motors, which filed for bankruptcy protection a day earlier, said its sakles were down 30 percent. Chrysler, which has been operating under U.S. bankruptcy rules since April, reported a 47-percent drop. The third major U.S. car manufacturer, Ford, said its sales were better than expected in May, but still 24 percent lower than the same period in 2008.

Both Ford and GM sold more cars in May than in April.

Three Japanese carmakers also reported big sales declines Tuesday.

Nissan was down 33 percent, Honda sales declined 42 percent and Toyota sales plunged 41 percent.

The chief executive of General Motors, Fritz Henderson, says he is modestly encouraged by the latest sales figures, and also noted that the number of potential customers visiting GM car dealerships was reasonably good.

Although industry-wide sales of the smallest, most fuel efficient cars are slow, Henderson says consumers are still seeking compact and mid-sized cars with high fuel efficiency.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.


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