Though 2008 started out fairly strong, riding the wave of 2007, it soon became clear that things weren't going to hold up. Few anticipated how sharply the market would drop, however, and that combination of events has led to some interesting best-and-worst results.
Leading the charge as the best-selling vehicle in America, despite the fuel crunch and down economy is the 27-year champ, the Ford F-150, reports Forbes. With 473,933 vehicles sold this year, it's over 40,000 vehicles ahead of the second-place Chevrolet Silverado. The total pickup-truck sales of nearly a million units - for just two models - prove that there's an ongoing need for the vehicles despite their somewhat anachronistic casting.
Honda's Civic and Accord and the Toyota Camry rounded out the top five spots, however, proving that relatively fuel-efficient vehicles that focus on moving people are also equally necessary, selling a combined 946 million vehicles.
The poor-sellers were largely composed of vehicles that haven't found a niche in terms of utility, affordability and style. Crossovers count significantly among the list, as the nascent segment founders in the face of its first real challenge. Working down the list, the fifth worst-selling vehicle in the U.S. in 2008 was the Hummer H2, its blocky obloquy a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Chrysler's Pacifica was the fourth-worst selling, preceded by the Mitsubishi Endeavor. Nissan's enormous and fuel-thirsty Armada SUV took second-worst-selling honors, and the least-purchased of all the mass-market vehicles of 2008 was the Hyundai Entourage minivan.
What this portends for sales in 2009 is anybody's guess. If 2008 has taught the automotive industry anything, it's that even the best laid plans may often go awry.