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New Car Sales Down 34% in May

June 4, 2009

Car manufacturers reported sales for May and the numbers were dismal as usual. Sales in May totalled 925,000 vehicles, a 34% drop compared to the same time last year. The good news? Sales were up 13% compared to last month and some manufacturers reported their best sales month for the year.

Ford, GM, and BMW did better than expected while others such as Toyota and Honda continued their poor performance.

Some industry analysts are starting to call a bottom in sales. We're not so sure. The stock market has seen a huge gain of 40% in the last couple of months. Historically, there's a strong correlation between the stock market and car sales.

This may have helped drive sales in the last couple of months, but many feel the stock market is due for another big correction. How that will affect car sales is unknown, but it certainly won't help. Furthermore, unemployment is still climbing and will be over 10% by the end of the year. Whether or not car sales have hit a bottom, the recovery is sure to be slow.

Here's how each manufacturer did in May 2009 compared to the same time last year:

MakeMay Sales

With car sales still in the dumps, dealers are desperate for more customers. It's a buyer's market right now.

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar, Edmunds, and 1-800 Car Show are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.

California Residents - Important:

There is a new online car buying service called Roadster, available only to California residents, which I highly recommend you try - especially if you hate the stress of haggling with a car salesman. They provide an expert concierge who negotiates the price of the car and delivers it to your home with zero hassle - you never have to interact with a dealership. Here is my in-depth review of Roadster and why I recommend it.

- Gregg Fidan

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Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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