DETROIT -- April sales of cars and trucks tumbled 17.9 percent from a year ago, automakers reported Friday, crushing any hopes that the slight quickening of the sales pace in March was the beginning of a steady recovery.
Imported and domestically built vehicles sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 11.2 million, down from March's more encouraging 12.4 million. Battered by war, recession and drooping consumer confidence, auto sales have been depressed for almost a year. In April 1990, vehicles sold at an annual rate of 13.8 million.
"The market fundamentals really have not improved significantly through April -- they've deteriorated," said Susan Jacobs, an analyst with Jacobs Automotive in Little Falls, N.J. "The weakness in the economy is what is holding the sales rate down."