Los Angeles, CA (PressExposure) January 09, 2009 -- U.S. automobile sales plummeted 36% in December making the sales volume in 2008 the worst for sixteen years and General Motors Corp.'s annual total was the worst in its home market for fifty years and Ford's was the worst for forty seven years.
GM did however manage to stay ahead of Toyota, Ford, Chrysler, Honda and Nissan for local sales although it apparently lost its global first place to Toyota.
U.S. automakers accounted for 47.5 percent of domestic sales in 2008 making it the first year that their combined sales dropped below 50%. European brands accounted for 7.8% and Asian automakers 44.6%.
Chrysler LLC's 53% drop last month was the biggest of any major automaker while Ford Motor Co. slumped 32 percent and GM and Nissan Motor Co. both fell 31%.
Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. also reported their first drop in full-year U.S. sales since the mid-1990s following declines in December of over 35%.
Steve Landry, who is Chrysler's vice president of sales for North America suggested that a lack of available credit at Chrysler Financial may be the major reason for a sales decline of as much as 25% and the company intentionally cut back on sales of unprofitable fleet vehicles by 63% last month.