US Auto Sales Plunge

US auto sales plunged 36 percent in December, figures released Monday show, with the industry's annual volume hitting a 16-year low.

Chrysler led the way with a sales slump of 53% in December, with Ford posting a decline of 32%, closely followed by GM at 31%.

But US manufacturers weren't the only one hit, Toyota, the world's largest automaker, posted a sales drop of 37%, followed by Honda at 35% and Nissan at 31%.

The figures come just a couple of weeks after GM and Chrysler secured a $17.4 billion bailout from the U.S. government.

But this isn't just a US problem, figures also released today show that sales in France declined 16%, and sales in Spain almost 50% last month.

This one is surely going to get far worse before it gets better. The question now seems to be what happens if & when the bailout money runs out, as it surely will before things turn around?