ORLANDO, Fla. — Experian Automotive’s AutoCount has ranked the top auto finance lenders for 2008, listing Toyota Financial Services at the No. 1 spot and revealing that GMAC, Ford Motor Credit and Chrysler Financial Services lost significant market share in a watershed year for the U.S. automotive industry.

Last year, the domestic captives represented three of the top four spots on the AutoCount list, with GMAC leading the pack. In 2008, credit unions and regional banks made significant gains as traditionally strong financing sources were forced to work with fewer dealers and finance fewer customers in the face of tightening capital and credit markets.

Here are the top auto finance lenders based on market share in 2008, according to AutoCount:

1. Toyota Financial Services (6.5%)

2. GMAC Financial Services (5.2%)

3. American Honda Finance (5.2%)

4. Ford Motor Credit (4.7%)

5. Chase Auto Finance (4.5%)

6. Wachovia Dealer Services (3.2%)

7. Chrysler Financial Services (2.8%)

8. Nissan Infiniti Financial Services (2.5%)

9. Capital One Auto Finance (1.8%)

10. BMW Bank of North America (1.7%)

GMAC and Chrysler Financial discontinued lease originations last summer, signaling an industrywide retreat from the segment. Non-captive lenders helped to fill the gap, but it remains to be seen if leasing will see a significant rebound in 2009.

Here are AutoCount’s top ten auto lessors for 2008 (based on percentage of new- and used-vehicle sales):

1. American Honda Finance (12.7%)

2. Toyota Financial Services (12.2%)

3. Ford Motor Credit (10.9%)

4. GMAC Financial Services (9.8%)

5. Nissan Infiniti Financial Services (8.9%)

6. Chrysler Financial Services (7.1%)

7. BMW Bank of North America (6.8%)

8. Volkswagen Credit (6.1%)

9. Mercedes-Benz Financial (4.0%)

10. U.S. Bank (2.6%)