• Jan 5, 2009
We didn't know sales for the U.S. auto industry in 2008 would be this bad when the year began, but it sure ended on a fitting note. Over the past six months or so we've seen the U.S. auto sales market nearly collapse and almost take our own domestic auto industry with it.

Nevertheless, there were a couple of standouts. Both MINI and Subaru somehow managed to post sales gains in 2008 compared to the previous year. The success of MINI is likely due to production capacity more than popularity, but we have no explanation for Subaru other than its sales staff is more persuasive than at your average car dealership.

As for the big dogs, despite the whole lot of them being hit equally hard over the past few months, Japanese automakers had a stronger first half of 2008. As such, their year-end sales data looks better than the domestics with Toyota being the worst performing Japanese automaker at -15.4. In comparison, Ford Motor Company (-20.7) were equally unimpressive while the Chrysler Group hemorrhaged sales and finished down a full 30%.

As for the rest of the auto industry, it's all there below and it isn't pretty.

BY THE NUMBERS - 2008
Brand Vol. Change Daily Avg. 2008 Daily Avg. 2007
Acura
-19.8%
144,504
180,104
-20%
469
587
Audi -6.1% 87,760 93,506 -6.4% 285 305
BMW -15.2% 249,113 293,795 -15.5% 809 957
Buick -26.2% 137,197 185,791 -26.4% 445 605
Cadillac -24.9% 161,159 214,726 -25.2% 523 699
Chevrolet -20.5% 1,801,131 2,265,641 -20.8% 5,848 7,380
Chrysler -38.3% 335,108 543,011 -38.5% 1,088 1,769
Dodge -25.9% 784,113 1,058,402 -26.2% 2,546 3,448
Ford -19.7% 1,687,731 2,101,244 -19.9% 5,480 6,844
GMC -25.5% 376,996 505,746 -25.7% 1,224 1,647
Honda -6.4% 1,284,261 1,371,438 -6.7% 4,170 4,467
HUMMER -50.9% 27,485 55,986 -51% 89 182
Hyundai NA
Infiniti -11% 112,989 127,038 -11.3% 367 414
Jeep -29.7% 333,901 475,237 -30% 1,084 1,548
Kia -10.5% 273,397 305,473 -10.8% 888 995
Lexus -21% 260,087 329,177 -21.2% 844 1,072
Lincoln -18.4% 107,295 131,487 -18.7% 348 428
Mazda -10.9% 263,949 296,110 -11.2% 857 965
Mercedes-Benz -11.2% 225,128 253,433 -11.5% 731 826
Mercury -28.6% 120,248 168,422 -28.8% 390 549
MINI 28.6% 54,077 42,045 28.2% 176 137
Mitsubishi -24.6% 97,257 128,993 -24.8% 316 420
Nissan -10.9% 838,361 941,200 -11.2% 2,722 3,066
Pontiac -25.3% 267,348 358,022 -25.6% 868 1,166
Porsche -25% 26,035 34,693 -25.2% 85 113
Saab -34.7% 21,368 32,711 -34.9% 69 107
Saturn -21.7% 188,004 240,091 -21.9% 610 782
Subaru 0.3% 187,699 187,208 -0.06 609 610
Suzuki NA
Toyota -14.6% 1,957,575 2,291,648 -14.9% 6,356 7,464
Volkswagen -3.2% 223,128 230,572 -3.5% 724 751
Volvo -31.2% 73,102 106,213 -31.4% 237 346
COMPANIES
BMW Group -9.7%
303,190
335,840
-10%
984
1,094
Chrysler LLC -30% 1,453,122 2,076,650 -30.3% 4,717 6,764
FoMoCo -20.7% 1,988,376 2,507,366 -30% 6,456 8,167
General Motors -22.9% 2,980,688 3,866,620 -23.2% 9,678 12,594
Honda America -7.91%
1,428,765
1,551,542
-8.21%
4,369
5,054
Nissan NA -10.9% 951,350 1,068,238 -11.2% 3,081 3,480
Toyota Mo Co -15.4%
2,217,662 2,620,825 -15.7% 7,200 8,537

2008 had 308 selling days versus 307 selling days for 2007


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 55 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Props to Subaru. I am leasing a 09 Subaru Legacy 2.5 SE. It's got everything I want. AWD, moon roof, prem audio system, power everything, 170hp. Def better looking than a bland looking camry or accord. And one of only few cars that offer dual exhausts on 4-cylinder.
      • 6 Years Ago
      For everyone that says GMC should die just look at the numbers. GMC sells more "gas guzzling" trucks than many brands that sell a much bigger or full line up.

      Hummer on the other hand...
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think the GMC dying sentiment is based not so much on sales but on the fact that it pretty much a duplication of product from the Chevy line, so would be GMC buyers could just buy the Chevy version instead.

        But I question whether GMC existing costs GM much money. Putting a different grill on a Silverado can't cost much. GMCs are sold at Buick Pontiac dealerships, so it wouldn't cut down on the number of GM dealers. The only big savings would be in advertising costs. As an alternative, GM could continue making different badging and grills for GMC, but cut off advertising, allowing GMC to slowly wither away rather than be killed. The GMC advertising budget could go toward Chevy trucks instead. I'm not sure that would save any money in the long run either though.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Does this come as a surprise on Subaru's behalf because their current lineup consists of only TWO modified platforms? I'm no economist by any means, but that sounds like efficiency and practicability. They have much potential to gain...that is, if the market does not get any worse in time to follow. =/

      Has anyone else noticed that Subaru sales are up since their design
      language has become more mundane, so to speak? If aesthetics are an
      issue, why not just buy one certified pre-owned?

      The new Legacy/Outback duo have a lot resting on their respective
      shoulders for Subaru's sake.


      ..Oh, and I want a flagship Legacy STi that's long since rumored. 450 horses from a turbo 3.6? I want an s402 bad enough as it is!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, more mundane just made them look like normal cars to most of the population, lol.
        Honestly I think Toyota is looking pretty smart for having doubled up their stake in Fuji Heavy Industries back when Subaru sales were actually down after the first quarter of 2008.
        Of course I still don't know if Subaru is even profitable...in their home market they've been getting a beat-down and the Toyota stake was at least partially a bailout.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Where's Land Rover/Range Rover? Where's Jaguar?
      • 6 Years Ago
      haven't I seen this?
        • 6 Years Ago
        You saw the December figures, not the full year.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Guess its a great time to buy an H3....
      • 6 Years Ago
      Subaru's mainstream cars with no frills, low key style, big space and AWD definitely appeal to a nervous recession mindset, they'll likely hold strong through 09 as well.
      VW/Audi deserves mention for holding their numbers too.
        • 6 Years Ago
        They were only up 0.3% for the year, so I'm not sure how 'appeals to a nervous recession mindset' applies.

        If they sold the same number pre- and post-recession, then they just appeal to some people regardless of economic conditions.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Other possible reasons Subie's sales are sorta up-ish: Huge incentives on Impreza - last I read on average over $3k/vehicle. In comparison, Honda averages less than $1000 per Civic (source: Autodata). Still, Subaru's car sales are way down, whereas their truck sales (aka Forester) are up. My guess is this is partly cuz the vehicle is new for MY 2008, and partly because Subaru lowered the base model's MSRP to less than $20k, cheaper than the previous model year Forester (source: Autoplanner).
        • 6 Years Ago
        They've been losing slightly towards the end of the year, just like everyone else, and the incentives were created to not undermine their tremendous success earlier in the year, and make the final number a rough tie with last year.

        My memory could be off by a few months, but I first heard of the big incentives post-slide, same as the others.

        'Car sales' are almost identical this year to last. Impreza and Legacy both up slightly.

        The Forester CUV compensated for the downshift in Outback sales.

        As far as 'trucks' go, the Tribeca sold 33% less than last year.

        All adds up to parity with 2007 sales.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Because it was redesigned for 2008 and you're comparing to the POS Hertz special that they sold as a Malibu before."

      Actually the 2008 Malibu went on sale in September or October of 2007 so last years resuls include the new car. Furthermore Chevy cannnot build 400k Malibus in a year because it shares its factories with the Aura and G6. If you add up the sales of those 3 models they will easily exceed the Altimas sales and likely the Accord's as well. They are all GM models that compete with midsize models from Toyota, Nissan and Honda. The fact that GM "only" sold 198k Malibus doesnt mean its not making an impact. The fact that Camrys are selling with unprecedented discounts and that Malibu transaction prices are about the same (or higher) than the camry's shows the Malibu is making an impact.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So here's my thinking:

      "I'm sorry Tiffany, I realize you just graduated from UCLA and your awesome new job pays you $40k a year, but your parents' credit is in the toilet so even with them as a co-signer, I can't lease you this $42,000 BMW/Lexus/Infinity".

      I bet the instant gratification generation has really met reality this year.


        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah, back to walking three... no four... miles to work each day like my grandparents did. Up hill both ways in the snow of course.

        A little perspective early on in life will hopefully help the upcoming generation in the future... bahh... Who am I kidding.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I added the numbers on the companies front and excluding Hyundai and Suzuki it comes out to 11,323,153. Add in Kia's 273,397, and it comes out 11,596,550. Of course, these numbers don't include exotic vehicles which along with Hyundai and Suzuki would add probably another 5 to 600,000. But I could always be wrong.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Again, Happy Penguin, I thought MINI sales were tanking?
        • 6 Years Ago
        No clue how HP could have thought that, they were sold out over the summer for quite some time (think starting around the end of July?)... If they hadn't been oversold in the summer their numbers may not have looked quite as impressive now, but those are still very, very good numbers. Also keep in mind that they introduced the Clubman this year though.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Christ you just don't stop do you? How about you get back with me when they're selling 50-100,000 units. Then keep telling me about all these American cars nobody wants.... Oh wait, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors sold WELL OVER SIX MILLION FU*KING CARS!!!!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Who cares if it's over, 2009 is going to be even worse.
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