Chrysler LLC said Friday that its April sales took a heavy knock of 48 percent, the steepest drop in the industry, as the company plunged into bankruptcy.

The Detroit car maker filed into Chapter 11 by the Obama administration a day earlier saw its sales nearly halved as potential customers were bombarded with a gloomy news flow for much of the month.

Vehicle sales were worse in April in the overall industry. Light vehicle sales in April were about 820,000, down 34% from the year- earlier month and 4.5% from March, according to data released late Friday by Autodata Corp. That put the annual selling rate at 9.3 million vehicles.

Industry-wide, April felt more like a dust bowl than a spring garden for new car sales, Jim O'Donnell, president of BMW in North America, said in a statement.

Every major auto maker reported dramatic declines. Toyota Motor Co.(TM), with a 42% slide, fell behind Ford Motor Co. (F) in the monthly tally for the first time since early 2008. GM sales fell 34% and Chrysler sales were down 48% from a year ago. Honda Motor Co. (HMC) sales were down 25% and Nissan Motor Co. (NSANY) fell 38%.