June was another disappointing month in a long string of disappointing months.
The downer this time was that the seasonally adjusted annual rate of auto sales failed to reach 10 million.
The June rate was 9.5 million, down from 9.9 million in May.
Meanwhile, Ford Motor had a relatively good month, down only 11.2 percent in a market that dropped 27.7 percent. But Chrysler Group, which emerged from bankruptcy court June 10, plunged 41.9 percent.
Several forecasters had guessed that a 10 million rate was a lock for June. It would have been a sign that maybe, just maybe, the sales logjam is beginning to break up and that brighter days are on the way. But it didn't happen. So the industry remains wrapped in the gloom that has been the norm since last fall.
Don't blame the failure completely on the Detroit 3. Sure, Detroit sales were in the tank again, down 28.3 percent from last year. But sales of import-badged cars and light trucks fell 27.2 percent, practically a standoff.
The month brought 860,101 sales, a decline of 27.7 percent from June 2008. It was the first time in more than 20 years that June deliveries fell short of 1 million.
Six-month sales of 4,810,464 were 35.1 percent behind last year, the first time in more than 20 years that the January-June tally has failed to reach 5 million.
Is it any consolation to note that June's drop was the lightest of any month this year? Not much.