Which market had a lousier August than the United States' 15.5 percent decline?
It was Europe, down 15.6 percent on falling consumer confidence and continued high fuel prices.
It was the worst month of the year for Europe, coming just as some see signs of the U.S. market moderating after a plunge from March through July. For the first eight months of the year, U.S. light-vehicle sales fell 11.2 percent from the 2007 level, while Europe passenger vehicles volume fell 3.9 percent.
Luxury brands fared the worst across Europe in August, said ACEA, the European automakers association.
Sales of Lexus, Land Rover, Alfa Romeo, Volvo and Saab fell more than 25 percent from August 2007. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Mini and Lancia volume fell more than the overall market declined.
The best-performing premium brands in August were Audi and Jaguar. Both lost 2.0 percent.
There were few bright spots in August. In 28 European markets, only Portugal, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bulgaria were up. Of the top 30 individual brands, only bargain-car specialist Dacia increased sales.
And steep August losses for Mercedes and Smart pulled Daimler AG into negative territory for the first eight months. Through July, the company was slightly ahead of 2007.
That leaves BMW as the only major auto group with a European sales gain so far this year.