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In Brief : Big Three Sales Decline 12.3%

From Times staff and wire service reports

Car and light truck sales among the nation’s Big Three auto makers fell 12.3% in mid-January from last year, when sales and consumer confidence bounced back after the stock market crash, the companies reported today.

Cars and light trucks sold by General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Corp. dealerships sold at an average daily rate of 27,072 during the Jan. 11 to 20 period this year, compared to a rate of 30,867 during the same period last year.

There were nine selling days in each period.

Car sales among the Big Three dropped 17.4%, going to a daily rate of 16,164 during the period this year from a rate of 19,565 in mid-January last year. Trucks made by GM, Ford and Chrysler sold at 10,908 this year, compared to an 11,302 daily rate last year, a decline of 3.5%.

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During the period last year, consumer confidence was on the upswing after the Oct. 19, 1987, stock market crash. This year, the Big Three, with Ford in the lead, began a round of cut-rate financing with interest rates as low as 4.9% on some loans on a limited number of cars and light trucks.

So far this year, the Big Three have sold cars at a daily rate of 15,380, down 12.9% from the 17,659 daily rate for the first 20 days of January last year. Light truck sales have risen 5.2% to a daily rate of 10,520, compared to a rate of 9,999 during the same time last year.


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