New vehicle sales, which account for $1 of every $6 of Maryland's total retail trade, declined again last month, marking the sixth consecutive month in which sales were lower than in the corresponding period of a year ago.
"The year started off fine, but the last six months have been very disappointing for dealers," said Jacob J. Cohen, a partner and head of the automotive division at Walpert, Smullian & Blumenthal, a Towson-based accounting and management consulting company.
According to registration figures released by the Motor Vehicle Administration yesterday, new vehicle sales were 7.3 percent below the sales pace in the same month last year.
The state's figures show that 25,010 new vehicles were purchased during the 21 selling days last month, compared with 26,978 vehicle sales in November 1994, which had two fewer selling days.
"Generally speaking, demand is down," said Mr. Cohen.
He said Maryland's heavy dependence on government employment and defense contracting were factors in the decline; government layoffs and the continued downsizing of defense industries have hurt consumer confidence in the state.
Nationwide, sales of new cars and light trucks were down 2.4 percent last month, according to Automotive News, an industry trade publication. The drop in sales came despite bigger sales incentive programs offered by manufacturers this year.
Used car sales in Maryland also were off last month, but the decline was not nearly as sharp. Dealers sold 38,875 previously owned cars last month. That was a decline of 3.06 percent from November 1994, when used vehicle sales totaled 40,104.