DETROIT -- April was such a lousy auto sales month that every major manufacturer but Chrysler reported a decrease from the same month last year.
Toyota sales, which include the Toyota, Lexus, and Scion brands, dropped 4.4 percent to 210,457 last month from 219,965 in April 2006, the company said. It was its first year-over-year monthly decline since May 2005.
The Japanese automaker has seen double-digit increases in recent months and it seemed like the rising sales would never end. In March, for example, its sales jumped 11.7 percent.
"I would expect them to rebound strongly next month," said Joe Barker, senior manager of global sales analysis for CSM Worldwide, an automotive forecasting firm in Northville, Mich. US light vehicle sales for all automakers declined 7.6 percent last month to 1.34 million from roughly 1.45 million a year ago, according to Autodata Corp.
Industry analysts say the bad month is a harbinger of things to come for the whole industry in the second half of the year with economic uncertainty, high consumer debt, the housing slowdown, and rising gasoline prices contributing to a softer automotive market.
Nissan reported the worst decline in April with sales down 18 percent from the same month a year ago.
Ford reported a 12.9 percent decline in US sales due largely to slumping car sales.
GM sales dropped 9.5 percent from April of last year, while