US automakers report fourth straight monthly decline in new car sales

US automakers yesterday reported the fourth straight monthly decline in sales of new cars and light trucks, the longest period of declines since 2009, when bankruptcies after crises had hit the industry. The slump lent support to the view of many industry experts, who said, auto sales had hit a peak and were set to trend downward.

''The market is tapped out,'' said Adam Silverleib, vice president of Silko Honda, a dealership in Raynham, Massachusetts, The New York Times reported.  ''It's no longer expanding at the rate the manufacturers thought it would.''

He added that the more optimistic consumer sentiment recorded since Trump's election ''hasn't translated into what's happening in dealerships where we're trying to sell cars.''

The top six automakers in the US market had all reported declines from their April sales a year ago, with the decline exceeding analysts' forecasts in every case.

This reflected on Wall Street as shares of Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles declined over 4 per cent, and General Motors shares fell almost 3 per cent.

Automakers sold 1.43 million cars and trucks, in April, down from 1.5 million a year ago. But ahead of this, automakers were cutting back on the number of vehicles they were making, which almost always meant elimination of jobs.

US stock indexes largely remained unchanged last morning as weak auto sales dragged down car makers even as other companies reported strong earnings.

Industrial companies including engine maker Cummins and pump and valve maker Flowserve were rising after they posted their first-quarter results. Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler were in retreat as it appeared that US car sales were slowing down.

According to some investors, car sales were an important indicator of how much consumers were willing to spend overall.