April Figures Confirm Sharp Drop in Gas Guzzler Sales

Data released yesterday, May 1, confirm earlier indications that sky-high gasoline prices are finally beginning to have a distinct impact on consumer behavior. Total U.S. auto sales in April were at their lowest level in 15 years, with sales of SUVs down drastically but subcompacts like Chevroletâ''s Malibu up 43 percent and Fordâ''s Focus up 32 percent. Sales of Toyotaâ''s hybrid, the Prius, climbed 54 percentâ''the biggest increase among the 15 most popular vehicles highlighted by The New York Times.

The U.S. big three manufacturers all registered double-digit sales declines, while Honda, Nissan, and Toyota came close to holding sales flat.

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