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2009 Car Sales Were Worst in 40 Years

January 7, 2010

Pontiac Now that total US car sales have been tallied for 2009, the results are simply staggering. For the first time in history, China has overtaken the US as the country with the highest domestic auto sales.

U.S. car sales totalled 10.4 million in 2009, the lowest figure since 1970. Analysts expect this figure to rise about 15% to 11.5 million cars in 2010, but that's still way below the 2001 peak of 17.4 million cars sold.

The big three domestic brands (GM, Ford, and Chrysler) all incurred a large drop in sales for 2009. Ford did the best out of the three, with sales down 15% while GM sales were down 30%. Chrysler fared the worst with sales down 36%. It was the first time since 1962 that Chrysler failed to sell more than one million cars in one year.

The largest car maker in the world, Toyota, saw U.S. sales slide 20%.

Only 3 car makers sold more cars in 2009 than in 2008: Subaru, Kia and Hyundai. Subaru had a record year as it increased sales by 15%.

Going into 2010, analysts are expecting a 15% increase in sales. Many car manufacturers have been ramping up production in anticipation. Even if sales do increase, 2010 is still going to be a great time for car buyers considering sales will still be down nearly 40% since peak.

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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