Spinning their wheels: April car sales plummet


Chrysler fell 48 percent, and Toyota fell 42. Nissan tumbled 38 percent, GM 34, and Ford 32. Honda reigned supreme with only a 25 percent drop from 2008's numbers.

More than anything, April 2009's falling car sales say a lot about how desperately analysts are searching for a silver lining, how tirelessly they're trying to make lemons from lemonade. Any market in which Honda is selling 75 percent of what it sold last year is a disaster, yet spinsters are trying to make its comparatively minor drop look like a triumph.

Chrysler, for example, claims that its precipitous downfall was caused by its planned cuts in fleet sales, not by the fact that it is applying for Chapter 11. However, as Mark Fightmaster recently noted, buying a car whose manufacturer won't outlast the warranty seems somewhat shortsighted. Moreover, the ailing car company's claim that sales numbers were better than expected begs the question of just how horribly Chrysler thought it was doing.