US car sales: the canary in the economic mine?


DETROIT — September was another difficult month for carmakers.

Toyota and the Ford Motor Company each said Wednesday that their sales in the United States fell more than 30 percent in September, as volatility in the financial markets compounded misery going forward for the auto industry.

But sales were better than expected at General Motors, which reported a 16 percent decline and estimated that its market share rose to the highest level in more than three years.

“We are looking at a very fragile economy,” Emily Kolinski-Morris, Ford’s chief economist, said on a conference call with analysts and reporters. “I don’t think anyone can say where the bottom might be.”