DETROIT — Domestic car sales fell 28.5% in early May, as the U.S.-based manufacturers posted declines in what amounted to their worst showing for the May 1-10 period in six years.
While total sales rose for those U.S.-built cars produced by foreign manufacturers, sales for the four U.S.-based car companies--General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and American Motors--fell 31.2% compared to the same period in 1986.
GM sales fell 39.3%, Chrysler was down 31.3% and Ford reported a drop of 11.6%. Troubled American Motors said it sold only 720 cars during the period, a 43% decrease from a year ago.
"Sales are really disappointing," said John Hammond, an analyst with J. D. Powers and Associates, an automotive consulting firm. "The environment is conducive to car buying, but it's difficult to incite the buyer to make purchases."