Light-vehicle sales in the U.S. are expected to continue their decline in 2009. Global Insight, a firm that has been forecasting sales since the 1960s, is predicting sales of 13.4 million units next year. That figure is slightly down from the 13.8 million units automakers are expected to sell in 2008. (For comparison to recent years, 16.1 million vehicles sold in 2007 and 16.5 million units sold in 2006.) Global Insight makes note of the current U.S. credit crisis and the worsening global economy, citing the worldwide financial situation is more detrimental to auto sales than oil at $200-a-barrel. When oil is high, at least the countries benefiting from the oil profits continue to purchase cars – unlike today. While analysts differ on when we may see a turnaround, the firm feels it could take until 2013 for sales to recover to levels seen just a few years ago.

[Source: Automotive News, subs. req'd]