US car sales fall to 27-year low

"Big three" US manufacturers sales plunge despite government aid.

    US car makers have sought financial aid from congress after sales slumped last year [Reuters]

    General Motors and Chrysler have received $13.4bn in federal loans to stay afloat and hope to receive more after they submit viability plans to the government by February 17, while Ford has said it does not plan to use government aid.

    Global slump

    But US manufacturers are not the only ones to suffer losses, with Japan's Toyota reporting a 34 per cent sales decline, Nissan almost 30 per cent and Honda a 28 per cent fall in sales.

    And European vehicle manufacturers also reported slumps in sales for January, with Germany's Daimler AG and Porsche down 36 per cent and Volkswagen AG down 12 per cent.

    Both domestic and foreign car makers have been struggling as the US economy continues to slide, with rising unemployment, weakening consumer confidence and tight credit conditions.

    "The truth is that the entire auto industry finds itself in the eye of this economic storm," Bob Carter, Toyota's US manager, told reporters on Tuesday.

    Vehicle sales in the US represent one of the key indicators of consumer demand and account for as much as a fifth of all retail sales.

    US vehicle sales had already fallen 18 per cent in 2008 to about 13.2 million vehicles.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.