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U.S. Car Sales Fall 11.9% in Month; Imports Off 13.3%

Times Staff Writer

Auto manufacturers reported Friday that domestic sales of new cars fell 11.9% in February, as consumer interest in incentive programs waned and import prices continued to rise.

Some analysts predicted that manufacturers will need to devise more enticing incentive programs to shore up the sagging market.

The industry reported total domestic sales of 749,542 units in February, down from 886,359 units in 1988.

Sales of domestically produced vehicles dropped by 11.9%, while sales of imported vehicles fell 13.3%.

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The percentage declines reflect average daily sales volume. There were 24 sales days in February, 1989, compared to 25 in 1988.

“The effect of incentives seems to be weakening,” said David Healy, an automotive analyst with Drexel Burnham Lambert in New York.

AUTO SALES Percentage changes in auto sales for the month of February are based on daily rates rather than total sales volume. There were 24 selling days in the current period and 25 in the year-ago period.

% February 1989 change GM 264,089 -17.1 Ford 165,962 -2.3 Chrysler 69,452 -27.0 Honda US 27,926 +5.4 Nissan US 9,005 +98.6 Mitsubishi US* 1,240 -- Toyota US 11,390 +257 Mazda US 2,978 +69.9 Domestic 552,042 -11.4 Toyota Imp. 29,421 -27.4 Nissan Imp. 30,361 +27.4 Honda Imp. 26,006 -2.6 Mazda 15,612 -11.7 Subaru 13,209 +9.3 VW Imp. 8,825 -45.1 Volvo 7,506 +9.9 Hyundai 14,056 -35.0 Mitsubishi 5,277 +5.6 Others* 47,227 -18.0 Imports* 197,500 -13.3 Total US 749,542 -11.9

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