Only one good thing can be said about 2008: It's over.
Unfortunately, 2009 doesn't look like much of a winner either, despite the whistling-past-the-graveyard predictions of a second-half U.S. auto-sales upturn by some auto executives.
With 13.2 million new-car and light-truck deliveries, 2008 was the worst year since 1992, when sales were just short of 12.9 million. Quite fittingly, December's 894,967 total was the worst for that month since 1982. Sales were down 35.6 percent from December 2007.
If you want to don your Pollyanna bonnet, you can point out that December's sales were better than October's and November's. You also can argue that the Detroit Lions' 0-16 record wasn't really that bad because they came close in a couple of games.
Everybody took a bath in December — everybody except Mini, that is. Mini sold four more cars last month than it did a year before. Its full-year record was much more satisfying — up 28.6 percent. It was one of only two brands to show an overall increase in 2008.