Fortunately, the first half of 2008 is over. Unfortunately, the second half looks worse than the first. Not much worse, but worse.
If you're looking for a full-year sales number, try this on for size: 14,652,757. That is my number, and it's not exactly a wild guess. It is based on a 10-year analysis of first-half and second-half sales.
In those 10 years, first-half sales have accounted for 50.6 percent of the full-year total. Applying that percentage of this year's first-half count of 7,414,295 gives the above-mentioned 14,652,757.
That is not a jump-for-joy number. It would be down 9.3 percent from 2007's tally of 16,154,450. But in view of this year's May-June sales collapse, the industry should be quite content with 14.6 million. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate for June was 13.1 million deliveries.
Taking the projection a step further, I tag the 14.6 million to include 7.8 million cars and 6.8 million trucks. It would be the first time since 2001 that cars have outsold trucks.