Auto sales in the U.S. have been on the skids for the good part of a year, due mostly to the country’s credit crisis and rising oil prices, but March levels marked the industry’s worst performance since 1993. Sales were down for most of the major carmakers, with American makes once again faring the worst.

For the month of March, GM’s sales were down a staggering 19.2% on last year’s result. Ford didn’t fare much better, its sales dipping by 14% compared to the same period last year. Rounding out the trio was Chrysler, whose sales also fell by a significant 19% from March levels of just one year ago.

Foreign brands, including market leader Toyota, also saw sales levels drop for the month of March. Toyota’s sales dropped 10%, while Nissan and Honda fared slightly better with falls of just 4 and 3% respectively.

Sales in Japan, meanwhile, have dropped to their lowest levels in 33 years, reports Thomson Financial. Sales of new cars, trucks and buses, excluding minicars, fell 4.5% to 3.43 million for the year ending March 31, the lowest since March 1975. Blame is being centered on rising petrol prices as well as a general fall in interest for new cars, especially amongst Japan’s youth.

Industry experts are expecting the following months to be just as bad although carmakers are hopeful that a new federal economic stimulus package will help boost the U.S. economy and in turn help motivate other markets around the globe.