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AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY March sales decline for cars built at Lordstown plant

Friday, April 4, 2003

LORDSTOWN -- Sales of cars made at the Lordstown Assembly Plant declined last month as automakers overall suffered through a slow month.
Chevrolet sold 18,041 Cavaliers in March, which was 18 percent less than the same month last year. For the year, Cavalier sales stand at 52,224, which is off 8 percent from the pace set in the first three months of last year.
Pontiac Sunfire sales are even worse. Sales last month were 2,718, which was off 51 percent. For the year, Pontiac has sold 8,241 Sunfires, which is off last year's pace by 52 percent.
Both the Cavalier and Sunfire are made at GM's local plant.
Overall, GM said Tuesday its total light vehicle sales dropped 3 percent in March -- a month that company analyst Paul Ballew called "OK." Car sales were off 5 percent, and truck sales were down 1 percent.
Detroit's Big Three automakers saw sales fall 4 percent last month as consumers shied away from large purchases, but the declines were milder than many forecasts made before the United States went to war with Iraq.
Considering that many predicted a decline in sales not seen in four or five years, Ballew said the industry could find "a degree of comfort" in the results.