It ain’t pretty (via MarketWatch):

With the majority of automakers having reported, the annualized sales rate for the month is poised to break below 10 million cars and trucks, well below analyst estimates.

The lowly figures also touch levels not seen since the early 1980s as consumers sit on their cash in the face of soaring unemployment and plunging home values.

Ford Motor Co. reported a 40.2% drop in the world’s biggest car market last month, pinning the blame on a pullback from its fleet customers and saying its retail business has stabilized since the swift retreat last fall.
Ford sales, including the Volvo brand, which is currently being shopped, pulled back to 93,506 from 156,391 a year earlier.

Ford, Lincoln and Mercury car sales dropped 35.1% to 28,707. Trucks fell 40.5% to 61,889, with the flagship F-Series pickup down 38.6%.

GM’s numbers were worse:

GM said it’s sales fell 48.9% to 128,198 light vehicles from 250,926 in January 2008. The car side plunged 57.9% to 43,943 while truck sales lost 42.5% to 84,255.

The automaker also forecasted its North American production to total 380,000 vehicles in the first quarter – 118,000 cars and 262,000 trucks, down 57% from the same quarter last year.

Even industry stalwarts were hit hard:

Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday that U.S. January sales fell 31.7% to 117,287 vehicles from 171,849 a year ago. U.S. January sales for Toyota passenger cars dropped 28.9% to 67,263 vehicles and Toyota light truck sales fell to 37.6% to 42,548, the company said.

So what will it take to break the trend and actually post an increase in sales!? How about a full money-back guarantee against job loss. That should do the trick.

Hyundai Motor Co. on Tuesday reported its sales rose 14.3% to 24,512 units in January from 21,452 units in January 2008, bucking the general industry trend. “We got off to a quick start in January thanks to the rollout of our all new Hyundai Assurance Program, which has struck a chord with the American consumer during these uncertain times,” said Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America’s vice president of national sales.