Same old, same old.
If you were looking for an upturn in auto sales, March wasn't your month. U.S. sales were down 36.8 percent from last year, and the tiny Smart was the only gainer among the 46 brands charted by Automotive News.
But in there were scattered bright spots. March sales were the highest of this year, 24.5 percent better than February's and 30.5 percent better than January's.
The 36.8 percent downturn in March was not as bad as February's 41.4 percent decline, and the seasonally adjusted annual selling rate climbed to 9.3 million, from 9.1 million in February. That's far from healthy, but it's a lot better than the 8.5 million predicted by some self-proclaimed experts.
If the 9.3 million should hold up for the year (and there's only a slight chance that it will), it would be a decline of 29.5 percent from last year's 13.2 million. That loss of 3.9 million sales would be he largest year-to-year decline ever.
The March total was 857,982, down from 1,357,189 last year. The first quarter bought 2,204,521 deliveries, a dip of 38.4 percent from 2008.