Reuters - U.S. auto sales plunged by 36 percent in December led by outsized declines at Chrysler LLC, Hyundai Motor (005380.KS) and Toyota Motor Corp(7203.T) as the battered industry closed out its weakest year since 1992 in its largest single market.
DETROIT — Chrysler Group LLC on Friday said that late-month snow and ice storms pressured U.S. auto sales, causing the industry to show only a 1% gain over last year, missing expectations of a 4% increase.
“It looks like the bad weather kept the sales penned in,” said Chrysler spokesman Ralph Kisiel.
December’s late-month holiday period is generally one of the biggest selling times at U.S. auto dealerships each year.
OTTAWA — Canadian retail sales unexpectedly plunged 2.1% in December amid slumping new-car sales and a weak Christmas shopping season, Statistics Canada data said on Friday.
The drop, far larger than the 0.3% decline predicted by economists, suggested that already moderated expectations for fourth-quarter growth might be too optimistic. The monthly fall was the greatest since a 2.4% decline in April 2010.
The Canadian dollar softened to its weakest level in seven months against the U.S. dollar after inflation and retail sales data came in below forecast.
After a record 40 million recalls in the first half of this year, automakers are realizing they need safety advocates on their senior management teams. But consumer champion Ralph Nader says the new safety roles aren’t good enough.
Chrysler Group LLC announced Tuesday that it will establish a new office of Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance whose head, Scott Kunselman, will report directly to CEO Sergio Marchionne.