Richmond Hill, Ontario – Total sales of light-duty vehicles dropped 18 per cent in 2008 in the U.S., according to industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers, in a special year-end report. Passenger cars dropped 10.4 per cent, while light-duty trucks were down by 24.9 per cent.

“The discrepancy between cars and light trucks was due to higher fuel prices and the sub-prime financing mess that sent the housing market into a tailspin,” DesRosiers said. “Tradesmen are the largest buyers of pickup trucks, and these two factors seriously eroded the light truck market. Light trucks were outperforming passenger cars again by the end of the year, but with the credit crisis in the U.S., sales of all types of vehicles were seriously down through the last half of 2008.”

DesRosiers also said that the Mexican market dropped 6.8 per cent in 2008, with passenger cars down 6.9 per cent, and light trucks down 6.5 per cent.  “The Mexican market is still about 60 per cent passenger car, and most light trucks are smaller products, so the fuel price increases did not have the same impact as in the U.S.,” DesRosiers said.

GM held first place in the Mexican market, with Nissan behind by only 356 vehicles, although GM’s sales were down by 7.8 per cent, compared to 1.0 per cent at Nissan. “If this continues into 2009, then of course Nissan would move ahead of GM to be the top-selling brand,” DesRosiers said. “GM sold 212,378 units for a 20.7 share of the market, and Nissan sold 212,022 for the identical market share. Ford was third in the market with 129,768 units and a 12.7 (per cent) share, VW was fourth with 119,400 units and a 11.6 share, and Chrysler fifth with 116,37 units and a 11.3 share of the Mexican market.”

DesRosiers said the Mexican market is more fragmented than in Canada and the U.S., with brands such as SEAT, Fiat, Peugeot and Renault that are not sold here. Toyota is a secondary player at this point, with only a 6.2 per cent share.

In the U.S., sales by manufacturer were as follows:

Manufacturer 2008 2007 % change
       
Chrysler 1,447,736 2,076,062 -30.3
Ford 1,868,919 2,330,317 -19.8
General Motors 2,934,492 3,791,839 -22.6
       
Acura   144,504   180,104 -19.8
Audi    87,761    93,508 – 6.1
BMW   249,113   293,795 -15.2
Honda 1,284,261 1,371,438 – 6.4
Hyundai   401,742   467,009 -14.0
Infiniti   112,989   127,038 -11.1
Isuzu     4,758     7,098 -33.0
Jaguar     14,991    15,683 – 4.4
Kia   273,397   305,473 -10.5
Land Rover    29,207    49,550 -41.1
Lexus   260,087   329,177 -21.0
Mazda   263,949   296,113 -10.9
Mercedes-Benz   224,903   253,173 -11.2
Mini    54,077    42,045 +28.6
Mitsubishi    97,257   128,993 -24.6
Nissan   838,361   941,200 -10.9
Porsche    26,035    34,693 -25.0
Saab    21,368    32,711 -34.7
Scion   113,904   130,181 + 0.8
Smart    24,622       N/A + 0.2
Subaru   187,699   187,208 + 1.4
Suzuki    84,865   101,884 -16.7
Toyota 1,843,669 2,161.467 -14.7
Volkswagen   223,127   230,572 – 3.2
Volvo    73,102   106,213 -31.2
       
Total vehicles  6,864,215  7,658,395 -10.4
Light trucks  6,326,680  8,426,149 -24.9
Passenger cars 13,190,895 16,084,544 -18.0

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