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 |  Apr 01 2009, 4:58 PM

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Hyundai performed well above the industry average for March, which may be one of the main reasons by both Ford and GM have copied the Korean automaker’s job-loss protection incentive. (Photo Credit: Liberty Cars]

Well, it ain’t getting any better. The recession continues to bully automakers as creditors continue to bang on their front doors

The industry average for car sales in the U.S. for the month of March is 36.8 percent below last year – and to a certain extent that sugar coats the problem as many of the major automakers posted worse numbers.

General Motors once again has the dubious distinction of the worst sales with a decline of 44.7 percent. Ford did only slight better less-worse with a decline of 42.1 percent. Chrysler was down 39.3 percent.

And it’s not just the Big 3 that are hurting. Toyota was down 39 percent and Honda dropped 36.3 percent and Nissan 37.7 percent.

Hyundai was one of the few companies to not take a serious hit, with sales decreasing just 3.3 percent. The Korean auto manufacturer has implemented a it’s assurance job-loss protection program and while it’s not clear if that is the reason for the considerably above-average sales, both GM and Ford recently announced similar programs.

Low consumer confidence and a tight credit market continue to be two of the main factors discouraging car sales. Confidence, especially in almost bankrupt companies like General Motors and Chrysler continues to be a major reason for stalled sales. Access to credit has improved slightly, however, something BMW President Jim O’Donnell sites for the less than awful 22.9 percent decline in his company’s sales.

The Obama Administration is also helping increase access to credit by forcing GM’s credit provider GMAC to resume subprime lending.

According to Standard & Poor’s equity analyst Efraim Levy, this may finally be rock bottom for the industry, but that doesn’t mean things are about to improve soon. “We believe we may be at or near the trough of the industry’s year-to-year comparisons but do not see an uptick in industry demand before fourth-quarter 2009 at the earliest.

[Source: Automotive News]

Follow the jump for a full list of manufacturer sales numbers

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