Edmunds Sees '08 Auto Sales Down By 18%

car dealershipAlthough the Detroit Lions are not in the car business, the team's failure to win a single game--a first in NFL history--could be a metaphor for the auto industry, and not just the ones in Detroit. Toyota, shaping up to be the top-selling automaker in the U.S. for 2008, has announced its first operating loss since FDR's second term.

Just how bad will 2008 turn out to be? Auto research and shopping site is predicting that total 2008 sales will be just over 13 million--a decrease of almost three million, or 18%, from 2007.

Edmunds says sales will be 852,000 units--a 14.6% improvement over November, but a 38.4% decrease from December 2007. And the firm points out that the versus-November improvements are well below the typical 18% auto-sales boost that December has over November.

"Despite the unit sales increase from November, December's expected 9.8 million [seasonally adjusted annual rate] will be the lowest of the year," said Jesse Toprak, executive director of industry analysis for "As questions about the economy remain unanswered, many consumers are reluctant to respond to the incredibly generous deals available on new cars."



Edmunds says December sales will be off 38.4% versus December of last year. Of the top six automakers in the U.S., Chrysler will see the biggest decline, with sales off 45.6% versus the month last year. Ford sales will be off 33.8% and GM's sales nearly 40%, per Edmunds. Honda's sales will have dropped 37.7%, Nissan's 42.1%, and Toyota's 38.8% versus December last year.

Still, domestic market share will grab back a sliver of share lost last month. Edmunds says that Chrysler, Ford and GM domestic nameplates will be 51%, down from 51.9% in December last year but up from 48.2% last month. predicts that because of steep declines in gasoline prices and huge deals, SUVs and trucks will for the first time in nine months outsell cars.

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