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December Sales Down, But Beat Expectations

January 6, 2009

December 2008 auto sales were down for all domestic and foreign automakers, but the results were not as dismal as expected. With sales of roughly 894,000 units, overall sales were down 35.6 percent year-over-year, according to research firm IHS Global Insight.

The light vehicle seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) for December 2008 was 10.27 million units, on par with the November 2008 sales results. Car sales were down 36.4 percent. Overall sales were down 47.3 percent. Light truck sales shrank 37.8 percent, resulting in a market share of 52.7 percent.

Manufacturers’ incentives reached an all-time high in December, according to Edmunds.com, which may account for the better-than-expected sales this month.

Audi:

Audi sales for December totaled 7,712 units, a decrease of 9.3 percent from the 8,504 vehicles sold during the year-ago period.

Audi Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) sales set a new record during 2008. Audi recorded 32,108 CPO sales, an increase of 18.6 percent over the previous year.

Audi’s annual sales reached 87,760, down 6.1 percent from 93,506 in 2007. Despite a challenging marketplace, the German automaker said it outpaced most brands and will record market share increases for December and for all of 2008.

BMW:

The BMW Group in the U.S. (BMW and MINI combined) reported December sales of 21,626 vehicles, a decrease of 35.9 percent over the 33,761 vehicles sold in December 2007. The BMW Group also reported a 2008 sales volume of 303,190 vehicles, down 9.7 percent compared to the 335,840 vehicles sold in 2007.

Sales of BMW brand vehicles decreased 40.2 percent in December for a total of 18,060. In the year-ago period, the company sold 30,199 vehicles. In 2008, BMW brand sales were down 15.2 percent to 249,113 vehicles. In 2007, the company sold 293,795 vehicles.

BMW's automobile sales were down 40.2 percent in December to 13,796. For the same month in 2007, the company sold 23,064 vehicles. In 2008, sales decreased by 15.4 percent to 195,085 automobiles.

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 from the 42,045 vehicle old in 2007.

Sales of BMW's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicles were up 23.4 percent from the 9,496 vehicles reported in December 2007. In 2008, CPO sales were up 16.4 percent from the more than 89,795 vehicles sold in 2007.

Chrysler:

Chrysler LLC reported total December 2008 U.S. sales of 89,813 units, up five percent versus November 2008 (85,260 units), and down 53 percent from the same month in 2007.

For the year, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge U.S. sales decreased 30 percent (1.4 million units) compared to total 2007 sales (2 million units).

Total car sales reached 20,535 units, down 59 percent from 50,273 in the year-ago period, Total truck sales reached 69,278 units, down 51 percent from 141,150 in 2007.

Ford:

Ford Motor Company posted total 2008 sales of 1.9 million units, down 20.7 percent from 2.5 million units sold in 2007. The company reported 139,067 vehicles sold in December, down 32.4 percent from 205,685 units sold during the same period in 2007.

Ford, Lincoln and Mercury sales totaled 134,114 in December, down 32 percent from the prior year. In the fourth quarter 2008, Ford, Lincoln and Mercury's market share was estimated at 15.0 percent, up 0.9 points versus a year ago. This is the first time since 2001 that the company's fourth quarter market share was higher than a year ago.

General Motors:

General Motors reported sales of 2,980,688 vehicles in 2008, down 22.9 percent from the year-ago period. However the company maintained an expected market share of just above 22 percent.

The company’s recorded 221,983 vehicles sold in December, down 31 percent compared to the year-ago period. A total of 2,555 GM hybrid vehicles were sold in December. In 2008, GM sold a total of 14,439 hybrid vehicles.

December 2008 sales for all certified pre-owned GM brands were 43,070 vehicles, up 21 percent from December 2007. Total 2008 sales for all certified GM brands were 485,279 vehicles, down 5 percent from 2007.

Honda:

American Honda Motor Co. Inc. reported 2008 annual vehicle sales of 1,428,765, a decrease of 8.2 percent compared to 2007 results on a daily selling-rate basis. American Honda's December sales totaled 86,085, a decrease of 34.7 percent.

Honda Division's 2008 annual sales of 1,284,261 represented a 6.7 percent decrease from 2007. Honda Division's December monthly sales of 75,405 also represented a decrease of 34 percent compared to 2007. Annual total car sales of increase 1 percent to 794,421, which set a record for the fourth consecutive year. The division's truck sales decreased by 16.9 percent to 489,840.

The Acura Division's total year-end sales of 144,504 vehicles represented a 20 percent decline. December Acura sales totaled 10,680, down 39.3 percent.

Total hybrid sales in December reached 1,037 units, a decrease of 69.3 percent from the 3,373 units sold during the year-ago period. Year-to-date sales decreased 12.8 percent from 35,983 to 31,495 units.

Hyundai:

Sales at Hyundai Motor America announced annual sales of 401,742 for 2008, a decline of 14 percent over 2007. Sales for December were 24,037, a 25 percent increase from November.

Mercedes-Benz:

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) reported December sales of 18,507 vehicles, bringing the company's total 2008 volume to 225,128, an 11.2 percent decrease over the annual sales record set last year.

Separately, through the Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned (MBCPO) program, MBUSA sold 6,589 vehicles in December 2008. This boosted the MBCPO year-end total to 64,654 units, a 26.9 percent increase over last year's MBCPO sales.

Nissan:

Nissan North America Inc. reported sales for December of 62,102 units versus 89,555 units a year ago, a decrease of 30.7 percent. For the 2008 calendar year, combined sales of Nissan and Infiniti totaled 951,350 units, a 10.9 percent decrease from 2007.

Nissan vehicles saw sales of 53,829 units in December compared with 76,900 units sold in December 2007, a 30.0 percent decrease. For the 2008 calendar year, Nissan sales totaled 838,361 units, a decrease of 10.9 percent from 941,200 in 2007.

Infiniti sales for December were 8,273 units, down from 12,655 a year ago, a decline of 34.6 percent. For the 2008 calendar year, Infiniti sales totaled 112,989 units, a decrease of 11.1 percent from 127,038 in 2007.

Toyota:

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) U.S.A. Inc. reported year-end sales of 2,217,662 vehicles, a decrease of 15.7 percent from 2007. TMS reported December sales results of 141,949, a decrease of 36.7 percent from the year-ago period.

The Toyota Division recorded year-end sales of 1,957,575 vehicles, down 14.9 percent from the prior year. December sales reached 118,587 units, down 37.5 percent from the year-ago period. Passenger cars recorded December sales of 67,717 units, with year-end sales of 1,207,006 units, down 8.4 percent from last year. The company also reported 50,870 light trucks sold for December, with year-end sales of 750,569, down 23.5 percent from 2007.

Scion Division reported sales of 113,904 units for the year. Scion reported December sales of 4,127 units.

The Lexus Division reported sales of 260,087 units in 2008, down 21.2 percent from 2007. Lexus reported December sales of 23,362 units, down 32.4 percent from the same month in 2007. Passenger cars reported December sales of 11,542 units, with year-end sales of 151,567 units in 2008. Light trucks reported December sales of 11,820 units and year-end sales of 108,520 units.

TMS calendar-year-to-date hybrid sales totaled 241,405 units. In December, TMS posted sales of 12,201 hybrid vehicles. Toyota Division posted December sales of 10,637 hybrids and year-end sales of 224,547 units. Lexus Division posted sales of 1,564 hybrids for the month and 16,858 units for the year.

Suzuki:

American Suzuki Motor Corp. recorded total 2008 sales of 84,865, down 17 percent from 101,884 units in 2007. The company posted December sales of 3,650 units, down 50 percent from 7,361 during the year-ago period.

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