The monthly sales report is a gold mine for lovers of automotive facts and figures. Every number has a story to tell. Here are some of those stories.
CADILLAC DID IT!
Cadillac is the winner and still champion of the luxury class. After trailing Lincoln throughout 1998, the General Motors flagship unleashed a sales whirlwind in December and edged Lincoln by a meager 222 deliveries for the year.
The final count was: Cadillac, 187,343; Lincoln, 187,121.
Using a mix of rebates, lease incentives and fleet sales, Cadillac sold 23,861 cars and trucks in December, nearly double that of the previous month. Customer and dealer rebates ranged up to $3,000 on 1999 models and up to $6,000 on the new 1998s that were still in dealers' hands.
Cadillac's fleet sales to Enter-prise Rent-A-Car were up sharply for the month.
According to Cadillac spokesman Chris Preuss, GM boosted fleet deliveries in December to make up for lost sales due to the summer UAW strikes.
To boost retail sales, GM used direct mail to target retirees and company employees. That, along with generous rebates on the Seville and other models, helped considerably.
The role of Cadillac's new Escalade sport-utility must be noted.
Cadillac dealers moved 3,642 Escalades in December after anemic totals of 590 in October and 960 in November. Lincoln sold 4,370 Navigators in December, but its edge over the Escalade was not enough to save the title for Lincoln.
HATS OFF TO THE WINNERS
Here are the best-selling vehicles by market class in 1998. Eight of the nine car winners and six of the seven truck winners were repeaters.