• Jan 5th 2009 at 4:58PM
  • 34
The U.S. auto industry hasn't experienced a worse year of sales in recent memory, so it's fitting that 2008 should close with December sales data that's no better than the previous disappointing months.

The only green you'll see below is next to MINI, which beat out December 2007 sales by only four vehicles. Every other automaker and its brands sold fewer cars this past month than the year prior.

Santa apparently wasn't putting Accords and Camrys under anyone's tree, as Toyota and Honda sales fell sharply, off 36.7% and 34.7%, respectively. General Motors (-31.4%) and Ford Motor Company (-32.4%) fared about the same, but the Chrysler Group took an unprecedented hit on the chin for a full-line automaker. It's December 2008 sales were down a full 53% versus last year. Chrysler brand sales alone were down an incredible 59.8% compared to 12/07. This means that HUMMER, for the first time in a long time, was not this month's Biggest Loser, managing to unload enough H3s to see sales fall by "only" 59.3%.

Props are also awarded to Audi (-9.3%), Lincoln (-10%), Subaru (-7.7%) and Volkswagen (-14.4%) who finished the year strong... well, as strong as could be expected.

Stay tuned for later today when we publish the annual By the Numbers - 2008: Phew! Glad That's Over Edition.

BY THE NUMBERS - December 2008
Brand Vol. % Change Total Sales 12/08 Total Sales 12/07 DSR % Change Daily Avg. 12/08 Daily Avg. 12/07
-39.3% 10,680 17,582 -39.3% 411 676
Audi -9.3% 7,712 8,504 -9.3% 297 327
BMW -40.2% 18,060 30,199 -40.2% 695 1,162
Buick -38.1% 8,909 14,400 -38.1% 343 554
Cadillac -38.3% 13,235 21,436 -38.3% 509 824
Chevrolet -25.8% 137,691 185,626 -25.8% 5,296 7,139
Chrysler -59.8% 19,453 48,384 -59.8% 748 1,861
Dodge -51.9% 47,269 98,235 -51.9% 1,818 3,778
Ford -33% 116,188 173,648 -33% 4,469 6,679
GMC -34.5% 29,783 45,503 -34.5% 1,146 1,750
Honda -34% 75,405 114,210 -34% 2,900 4,393
HUMMER -59.3% 2,170 5,333 -59.3% 83 205
Hyundai NA
Infiniti -34.6% 8,273 12,655 -34.6% 318 487
Jeep -48.5% 23,091 44,804 -48.5% 888 1,723
Kia -39.2% 14,644 24,068 -39.2% 563 926
Lexus -32.4% 23,362 34,555 -32.4% 899 1,329
Lincoln -10% 9,053 10,065 -10% 348 387
Mazda -27.9% 17,965 24,933 -27.9% 691 959
Mercedes-Benz -32.1% 18,507 27,269 -32.1% 711 1,049
Mercury -29.8% 8,873 12,631 -29.8% 341 486
MINI 0.1% 3,566 3,562 0.1% 137 137
Mitsubishi -22.6% 4,570 5,904 -22.6% 176 227
Nissan -30% 53,829 76,900 -30% 2,070 2,958
Pontiac -45.5% 16,466 30,211 -45.5% 633 1,162
Porsche -25.5% 2,154 2,891 -25.5% 82 111
Saab -57% 1,179 2,748 -57% 45 106
Saturn -30.9% 12,570 18,196 -30.9% 483 700
Subaru -7.7% 17,287 18,739 -7.7% 664 721
Suzuki NA
Toyota -37.5% 118,587 189,844 -37.5% 4,561 7,302
Volkswagen -14.4% 17,577 20,543 -14.4% 676 790
Volvo -47% 4,953 9,341 -47% 191 359
BMW Group -35.9%
Chrysler LLC -53% 89,813 191,423 -53% 3,454 7,362
FoMoCo -32.4% 139,067 205,685 -32.4% 5,349 7,911
General Motors -31.4% 221,983 323,453 -31.4% 8,538 12,441
Honda America -34.7%
Nissan NA -30.1% 62,102 89,555 -30.1% 2,389 3,444
Toyota Mo Co -36.7%
141,949 224,399 -36.7% 5,460 8,631

December 2008 had 26 selling days versus 26 selling days for December 2007.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      So Lexus really is the #1 luxury manufacturer. Hmmm Subaru very slightly up... I guess the bland impreza styling worked...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Technically, no, Lexus is not the #1 luxury manufacture.

        Luxury sales are by price threshold, not brand. The threshold for luxury is considered $42,000. Mercedes-Benz - by a significant margin - sells the most vehicles over $42,000 in the United States. More than half of Lexus sales and, IIRC, about one-third of BMW sales, are under $42,000.

        Though if you want to look at it by brand, and only by brand, yes, Lexus is #1, and has been for a while. It's pretty easy to do when most of your vehicles are in the $32-$42,000 range.
        • 6 Years Ago
        who determines the luxury threshold?
      • 6 Years Ago

      Doubtful that the situation will improve for some time. Production cuts might be inevitable.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Can somone tell me why there is not a category for VW Group (VW and Audi) but there is for all other 2 tier manufactures?
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Jimmy Dean... I'm guessing it's the same answer we give every time someone like u asks this question, every f*cking time. VAG doesn't issue numbers as VAG, if they did, it would be reported, they issue numbers as VW, Audi, etc.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow This very sad all around. I hope 2009 brings some better numbers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      But Happy Penguin, I thought MINI sales were down?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Oh, and you see I did not say that Mini sales are down. You contrived that.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You care to quote and link where I said that?
        • 6 Years Ago
        When other car companies are selling hundreds of thousands of cars and Mini only sells a few thousand, the whole "nobody wants them" argument about American cars falls apart. If nobody wants American cars then nobody wants a Mini.

        My point was that Mini is a niche car and that's all it will ever be. It may be a damn nice car. It may be a damn good car, but only a certain people will ever buy it in the US. It will probably be successful in its niche, but Mini will never sell tens of thousands of units in the US.

        You still didn't link where that came from but I do remember that comment.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Mini sold just 3,732 vehicles as of September 2008. Even more telling is the fact that in 2007, for the entire year, Mini only sold 4,031 units. In other words, apparently "nobody" wants a Mini."

        When sales are at it's max (you can't sell more cars than are available), and they keep increasing (the only company that DID increase), It's hard to say that "nobody" wants a MINI.

        (Oh, and "Official Release: MINI USA reported December sales of 3,566 automobiles, up 0.1 percent from the 3,562 cars sold in December 2007. In 2008, the division reported sales of 54,077 automobiles, an increase of 28.6 percent, compared to the 42,045 cars reported in 2007.", so MINI sold over 42,000 cars in 2007, not just over 4,000.)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well, you know what that means for 2009????

      Easy Compare!
      • 6 Years Ago

      Regarding Toyota selling cars at a profit....I think they already announced that they will lose money this year from core automotive operations. That's going from forecasting like a $18b profit to possible loss of a few hundered million ( I don't recall the exact figures).

      I wouldn't be surprised if Honda shows an automotive loss this year too. Their fiscal year ends in March, so we'll have to wait and see what happens.
      • 6 Years Ago
      These numbers only tell half the story. Here are the year end figures:

      Acura, down 20 percent to 144,504.
      Audi, down 6.1 percent to 87,760.
      Buick, down 26.2 percent to 137,197.
      BMW, down 15.2 percent to 249,113.
      Cadillac, down 24.9 percent to 161,159.
      Chevrolet, down 20.5 percent to 1,801,131.
      Chrysler, down 38 percent to 335,108.
      Dodge, down 26 percent to 784,113.
      Ford, down 19.1 percent to 1,687,731.
      GMC, down 25.5 percent to 376,996.
      Honda, down 6.7 percent to 1,284,261.
      Hummer, down 50.9 percent to 27,485.
      Infiniti, down 11.1 percent to 112,989.
      Jeep, down 30 percent to 333,901.
      Lexus, down 21.2 percent to 260,087.
      Lincoln, down 18.4 percent to 107,295.
      Mercedes-Benz, down 11.2 percent to 225,128.
      Mercury, down 28.6 percent to 120,248.
      Mini, up 28.6 percent to 54,077.
      Nissan, down 10.9 percent to 838,361.
      Pontiac, down 25.3 percent to 267,348.
      Saab, down 34.7 percent to 21,368.
      Saturn, down 21.7 percent to 188,004.
      Subaru, up 0.3 percent to 187,699.
      Toyota, down 14.9 percent to 1,957,575.
      Volvo, down 31.2 percent to 73,102.
      Volkswagen, down 3.2 percent to 223,128.

      It's interesting to note, Acura really dragged Honda's overall figures down pretty significantly over Honda's. Toyota fell harder, but they're a much larger autocompany than Honda (Honda has many other ventures and IMHO are in a better position for it). Volkswagen/Audi faired quite well, but none of this is really saying much because some of these companies had crappy 2007s, but less crappy 2008s. For most others, it's just the opposite. These numbers just don't tell the whole story, but it's pretty clear the larger the company, the harder the fall. Seems perhaps Toyota overtaking GM as the number 1 automaker was a short-lived positive where US sales are concerned.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That GM sells cars at a loss is an oversimplification.

        They consistently make cars, they consistently lose money, dividing one by the other says they're losing $2000 a car so by extension not building that car would save them $2000.

        That's missing the point of where they're losing the $2000. They make significantly more money selling a car than the variable costs of producing it. The anchor drowning them is the fixed cost of gold plated benefits for their retirees.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Seems perhaps Toyota overtaking GM as the number 1 automaker was a short-lived positive where US sales are concerned."

        Not really, it was always pointless, I never understood why/how GM could continue to sell cars at a loss simply to eek out enough to just beat Toyota who... wasn't selling cars at a loss. It'll be interesting to see where both stand next year, i'd wager the company who continued to sell cars not at a loss, while crest fallen, will continue to be better off then that which did everything they could to keep paper numbers up without looking at profit, margin, etc. I’m always concerned when I hear companies constantly talking about only one measure of their business, in this case total sales, blissfully ignoring more crucial measures, such as profit per item sold, etc.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ zamafir.

        Welcome to the age of 'disinformation'. I'm convinced that rapid data flow was bound to hurt businesses in the long run because it gives an unprecedented ability to micromanage.

        While on the surface that sounds like they'd be doing their company a service by tracking every number and forcing the company to make it positive in the short-run, corporate America has totally lost the ability to see trends in the long-term. In only a few short years of internet and computing evolution.

        Its still going on. I doubt this economic downturn will re-teach managers how to stick to core business principles, and not sacrifice future stability for instantaneous 'numbers'.

        Its like giving a child a gun without parental supervision and hoping they'll learn how to use it properly. And it trickles up and down all rungs of society. From government to household. I'm sure someone thought they could afford a mortgage 'right now', without even giving a contingency for failure a second thought.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Mini up yet again.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I cant believe there were 2170 Hummers sold.
      why is everyone complaining???
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah GM sold more Hummer H3s than:

        Scion sold tCs = 1,348
        Scion sold xDs = 985
        Lexus sold LSs = 1,451
        Toyota sold Venzas = 1,474
        Toyota sold Land Cruisers = 227... yes 227 is correct!
        Lexus sold LXs = 508
        Lexus sold GXs = 1,380
        • 6 Years Ago
        Not to mention more H3s than:

        Kia Optimas = 1,410
        Mitsubishi Galants = 1,214
        Honda Civic Hybrids = 1,036
        Hyundai Veracruz = 1,222
        Mazda Miatas = 299
        Hyundai Entourages = 429
        Honda S2000s = 72
        Kia Amantis = 194
        Mazda RX8s = 153
        Honda Elements = 1,336
        Acura RDXs = 1,141
        Mazda CX-7s = 1,169
        Acura RLs = 245
        Mazda B-series = 53

        Pathetic showings for all! Should they be taken off the market along with the Hummers? Or is it nice to have variety even if the models are not high volume sellers?
      • 6 Years Ago
      The economy sure hurt the big automakers. The downfall of Toyota can only get bigger now that it appears that some of it's customers are starting to feel the pressure to buy American. It is about time that people get rid of their perceptions and the status symbol of foreign cars and start supporting American companies.

      It sure feels good to buy an American made car built by an American company.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Dooms Day for Chrysler
        • 6 Years Ago
        Porsche's business model = pre-modern auto market 100+yrs ago. When only a handful of people in society could afford cars.
        Profits are good, only if you have the high potential for profits. Porsche profits would never reach Ford/GM's back in the heyday or Toyota/Honda pre-credit crunch. Besides, porsche volumes are about the size Hummer's. And that's after gas price/credit/economy/PR/Govt bailout/etc crushed Hummer sales.
        • 6 Years Ago
        All I'm saying is, numbers don't always reflect the big picture. They're also in the middle of a massive turn around and restructuring -- which started before this whole economic screwup.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Except Honda is still profitable with cash and their annual decline is at 8%. Chrysler has been declining for a long time now and in the past 6 months, their decline has hastened. And expectations are that it will continue to decline for the next 6 months as well. Also, every other volume automaker has beat expectations. Nissan/GM beat it by 10%, Honda by 4-5%, Ford and Toyota by 1-2%. The only one that fell below analyst sales expectations is Chrysler. And by a huge margin too.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ..yet they still sold more than Honda/Acura.

        We're only comparing numbers between 07 and 08. Everyone got rocked last year. They're def the worst off, but they also slashed capacity, stopped selling to fleets and killed 5 models.
        • 6 Years Ago
        lol, volume doesn't really tell much about a company's profits. Just look at Ferrari or Porsche.
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