You can bet that few champagne glasses were raised after the sales numbers for 2008 were tallied. You don't even need all the fingers of one hand to count the brands that posted higher sales.
Fueled by high gasoline prices, sales of BMW's Mini Cooper scored an impressive gain last year. Mini set a U.S. record with sales of 54,077 units, up 28.6 percent over the 42,045 sold in 2007. No other brand even came close to equaling the sales performance of the cheeky hatchback.
The only other winner: Subaru. For the year, Subaru sold 187,699 units — 491 more than the 187,208 sold in 2007. But it was good enough to land on the positive side of the ledger with a gain of 0.3 percent.
Audi's cars managed a slight gain of 2.4 percent for the year, to 74,551. But when SUVs are included, sales for the brand dropped 6.1 percent in 2008.