The auto market is in the tank right now, with sales dropping to 1991 levels and Detroit automakers in a cash crunch of horrendous proportions. Even Japanese automakers are struggling, and perhaps the biggest sign that something is terribly wrong is that Toyota is even feeling the pain. The Japanese automaker's sales dropped by an incredible 32% last month compared to September 2007, which was preceded by drops of 9.7%, 18% and 11% in prior months. Toyota has already lowered its global sales target for the year to 9.5 million units to reflect the trouble it's experiencing in the U.S. market, but recent news from Europe is that production is being cut there, as well.
The worst news for Toyota would likely be welcome news to the rest of the automotive universe: the Japanese juggernaut will only rake in about $12 billion of profit this year. While that's an absolute treasure trove of cold, hard cash, it's about 40% less than Toyota had earlier forecasted. Toyota's stock has also taken a hit during these challenging times, with its current value down about $23 per share under its 52-week high of $58.76. The worst part about the automotive market is that there appears to be no end in sight, which means there is more bad news to come; even from Toyota.

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]

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