A nearly 47 per cent drop in sales at General Motors last month left auto sales in Canada at their lowest level in 20 years.

Yesterday’s gloomy sales numbers came as a union official suggested that GM could close its operations in Canada if workers didn’t accept concessions soon.

Industry-wide, sales and leases of new cars and trucks tumbled 26,000, or 25.3 per cent, to 76,850 in January compared with the same month last year, according to manufacturers.

“Canada has clearly joined the global automotive recession and is bringing a lot of companies with it,” said industry watcher Dennis DesRosiers.

Sales at GM plunged more than 12,000 vehicles, or 46.6 per cent, to 14,254 last month.

Chris Buckley, president of Canadian Auto Workers Local 222 in Oshawa, said the reeling automaker could close a major car plant in the city if the union didn’t help GM’s North American restructuring effort.

But Premier Dalton McGuinty suggested he doesn’t believe GM would pull up stakes in Ontario because of recent investments, productivity and quality.

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