January was a weak month for auto sales across the board - from Toyotas to Jaguars - but when new registrations in car-happy Orange County plunge 28.5 percent from a year earlier you know that we're in for some tough times. Matthew A. Gunderson, owner of Audi Mission Viejo, told the OC Register that it was the worst January he had seen in 21 years and reflective of an uncertain economy. But Gunderson also noted that December had been a relatively good month. That might help explain why the drop was so big. Nationwide, auto sales fell 4.3 percent in January from a year ago.
January’s slumping sales slammed all industry segments. Toyota/Scion — the most popular brand in Orange County — slumped 35.8 percent. Luxury brands suffered: Lexus down 28.6 percent, BMW off 32.5 percent, Mercedes falling 35.3 percent, Porsche plunging 36.9 percent, Cadillac cascading 42.9 percent. Ford fell 22.3 percent while Chevrolet dove 38 percent. Buick, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Mazda and Infiniti were the only brands to see a sales increase.
I couldn't find any January numbers from the Greater Los Angeles New Car Dealer Association, which in the past has supplied such data.