DETROIT — Early January sales of domestically made vehicles fell 6.2% from depressed 1991 levels, indicating that lower interest rates haven't erased consumer worries about the economy.
Extremely slow sales in the same period last year were attributed to fears of U.S. entry into the Persian Gulf War and the early stages of the recession.
Nine of the 10 major auto makers in the United States reported that they sold cars and trucks at an average daily rate of 18,130 during the Jan. 1-10 period, compared to a daily rate of 19,117 last year.
Car sales fell 8.4%, but truck sales were up 0.5%.
Chrysler Corp., which does not report sales on a 10-day basis, had estimated combined vehicle sales of 23,208, down 12.4% from a year ago. The Associated Press estimate is derived from Chrysler's average monthly market share during the previous 12 months.
Including the estimate for Chrysler, the 10 makers sold an average of 21,031 vehicles a day, compared to 22,429 during early January, 1991.
Sales of North American-made cars and trucks with Japanese nameplates fell 0.8% during the period, while sales of General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler vehicles fell 6.7%.
Among the Japanese companies producing cars in the United States, American Honda reported 13.3% higher sales. Toyota USA reported 13.9% higher sales.