Canadian auto retailers face a gloomy outlook after September sales dipped 8.2 percent to 127,233 units compared with September 2003.
Year-to-date sales are down 5.3 percent.
Auto market analyst Dennis DesRosiers in Toronto doubts that sales will bounce back in the fourth quarter.
DesRosiers blames high insurance and gasoline costs, incentive fatigue, rising interest rates and "an economy that is much weaker than the politicians want to admit."
Sales in the first three quarters totaled 1.18 million units, with cars down 6.5 percent and trucks declining 3.8 percent.
The Chrysler group, alone among the Big 3, is holding its own. Car
sales, boosted by the new Chrysler 300, helped total sales rise 1.0 per-cent in September. Through three quarters, sales are down just 0.8 percent.
By contrast, Ford, Lincoln and Mercury sales dropped 16.7 percent in September and are down 13.4 percent this year.
General Motors sales dipped 14.5 percent for the month and 4.6 percent for the year.
Four out of seven Japanese automakers reported increases in September, but overall their sales fell 4.8 percent. The Japanese were down just 1.2 percent for the year.
Mazda Motor Corp. leads the Japanese in 2004, buoyed by the Mazda3 car. Mazda sales rose 1.0 percent in September and are up 14.2 percent for the year.
The Honda Civic remains the best-selling car in Canada, but Honda Division sales declined 14.9 percent last month and 9.0 percent in the first three quarters.
Rival Toyota Division's sales in September were up 0.4 percent and are ahead 1.1 percent for the year.
The Korean duo of Hyundai and Kia saw sales increase 4.5 percent last month, but their sales fell 16.4 percent through three quarters.
Sales of European brands decreased 5.1 percent in September and 7.8 percent in the first nine months.
BMW Mini sales were up 68.7 percent in September, while overall BMW sales increased 10.5 percent and are up 9.3 percent for the year.
Mercedes-Benz sales slipped 15.8 percent and are down 9.1 percent this year, while Volvo sales rose 16.6 percent and are up 2.1 percent for the year.