MARY LOUISE KELLY, host:
In other auto news, Toyota said today it's recalling more cars. This time, the problem involves faulty valve springs in the engines of some of its high-end Lexus cars. About 140,000 vehicles in the U.S. could be affected. No injuries or accidents have been linked to the problem. But it is more bad news for Toyota, which yesterday announced that its sales in the U.S. last month fell 14 percent, though that pain was felt by other carmakers, as well.
NPR's Wendy Kaufman has more on the weakness in the auto industry.
WENDY KAUFMAN: The drop in sales was substantial. GM, Ford, Toyota and Chrysler all had between 12 and 14 percent fewer sales last month. Nissan, Subaru and Honda were also down.
Ms. MICHELLE KREBS (Senior Analyst, Edmons.com): We get a little worrisome.
KAUFMAN: Is how Michelle Krebs, an industry expert at Edmons.com, describes the latest sales figures.
Ms. KREBS: If you looked at the consumer confidence numbers this week, it shows you people are very nervous about their jobs, about the economy, and they just aren't spending money.
KAUFMAN: Especially on big ticket items like cars.
Krebs adds that for the first six months of the year, the relatively large number of fleet sales, say for rental cars, disguise the very weak consumer demand.
The automakers tried to put a positive spin on yesterday's numbers, noting that June sales were higher than a year ago. But that's not saying much. Sales in June 2009 were very low, as buyers anticipated the Cash for Clunkers program.
About the only automaker who could really claim a good month in June was Hyundai. The Korean automaker is coming on strong.
Wendy Kaufman, NPR News.
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