New York - The prospect of new tax cuts in the United States and Germany injected a measure of New Year cheer on Monday, even as automakers wrapped up 2008 as their worst in more than 15 years with yet another month of slumping US sales.
Automakers continue to suffer from weak US demand, with General Motors Corp , Ford Motor Co and Toyota all reporting December sales declines of more than 30%.
Chrysler LLC led the industry lower with US sales that dropped by 53% in December, a month when the struggling automaker and larger rival GM fought to clinch a $17.4-billion bailout from the US government.
Toyota Motor Corp, the world's largest automaker, posted a sales drop of 37%, followed by Honda Motor Co at 35% and Ford Motor Co at 32%. GM and Nissan Motor Co saw sales drop 31%.
That followed December auto sales figures from Japan and France, which posted steep falls of 22% and 15.8%, respectively, adding to a swathe of grim data from an industry bearing the brunt of wrecked consumer confidence.