Vehicle sales in the US plunged 36 per cent to a 16-year low in December as the recession hit demand with almost all major carmakers reporting annual sales declines of over 30 per cent amid recession and tight credit.
Vehicle sales at General Motors Corporation fell 31 per cent in December, hitting a 49-year low. GM's annual domestic sales was also the lowest since 1959.
Toyota Motor Corporation and Honda Motor Co also reported a 36 per cent drop in December sales, registering the first full-year drop in sales since the mid-1990s.
Chrysler sales dropped 53 per cent in December while Ford Motor Co slumped 32 per cent and Nissan Motor Co fell 31 per cent.
GM's 2008 US sales of light vehicles totalled 2.95 million, its lowest in 49 years while Ford's sales sagged to a 47-year low, according to trade magazine Automotive News.
Overall vehicle sales in the US totaled 13.2 million in 2008 (against 16.1 million in 2007) - the lowest since 1992 - according to industry analysts.
Toyota, which overtook GM as the world's top carmaker, retained the top spot among automakers in the US, followed by Ford, Chrysler, Honda and Nissan.
Toyota, however, saw its US sales drop 37 per cent, despite the no-interest loans offered on most models since October 2008.
Sales of its Prius hybrid, the best-selling gasoline-electric car in the US, fell 45 per cent; that of the full-size pickup Tundra fell 52 per cent and that of the Lexus luxury brand 32 per cent.
Honda saw its US sales drop 35 per cent.
The share of US automakers in the domestic market also fell to 47.5 per cent in 2008, falling below 50 per cent for the first time. Asian automakers had 44.6 per cent of the market, while European brands had 7.8 per cent, according to AutData.