General Motors' November US sales plunged 41%, while Ford's dropped 31%, dashing hopes that the industry-wide drop in vehicle demand might be easing as Detroit's automakers prepare to state their second case for a federal bailout. Their overseas rivals posted abysmal results as well. Toyota's November sales tumbled 34%, and Honda's fell 32%.
A dreary economy, swooning consumer confidence and tight credit markets have combined to keep consumers out of vehicle showrooms this year. Many analysts had expected November sales to come in slightly better than ugly October figures, noting that aggressive incentive spending and the plunge in gasoline prices may have put a floor under sales.