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World auto sales suffer steepest drop since global financial crisis

Sluggish Chinese and Indian economies drag number down in 2019

An auto showroom in China. The slowdown in car sales there was a big factor in dragging down global figures.   © Reuters

GUANGZHOU/NEW YORK -- New automobile sales worldwide in 2019 are expected to fall on a unit basis by about 4%, according to data released as of Saturday, a drop so steep it was last seen in the midst of the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.

This marked the second straight year of declines and at a steeper rate than the 0.6% of 2018. Car sales were dragged down by China, the world's biggest market, and fourth-ranked India. The prolonged slowdown in the developing world that had been propelling the market raises the possibility of job cuts and an industry shake-up.

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