Beleaguered Ford reported a 34 percent decline, while Chrysler said its sales fell 33 percent and Toyota posted a 32 percent drop.
It was Ford's worst sales month this year, and the results across the industry are a strong indication that the financial turmoil that has swelled since mid-September is pushing the auto industry deeper into its trough.
General Motors Corp., buoyed by its offer of employee pricing on most of its vehicles, saw U.S. sales drop a less severe 16 percent, boosting the automaker's market share to its best level all year.
Hyundai Motor Co., whose single-digit sales decline this year has looked like a success against the Detroit automakers' slide, reported Wednesday that its U.S. sales fell 25 percent. Honda Motor Co., one of the few automakers that had posted sales growth through August, reported a 24 percent drop.