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THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Monday, January 5th 2009, 2:43 PM

CHERRY HILL, New Jersey - Subaru said Monday its U.S. sales crept higher in 2008 on strong demand for Forester and Impreza models. The Japanese company is the only major automaker so far to post an increase in yearly sales.

Subaru's December sales fell 7.7 percent to 17,287 units from 18,739 in December 2007, as a big increase in Forester sales failed to overcome declines in its remaining models.

But Subaru sales for all of 2008 rose by 0.3 percent to 187,699 vehicles from 187,208 in 2007, as consumers snapped up its top-selling Forester and Impreza models. The company is likely to be the sole large automaker to report higher sales for 2008, as the troubled economy pummeled new car sales across the industry.

Subaru said Forester sales surged 36.4 percent in 2008. The company's updated 2008 model-year Forester was named sport/utility of the year in December by Motor Trend magazine. The automaker also said sales of its Legacy and Impreza models climbed in 2008, offsetting double-digit sales declines of Outback wagons and Tribeca SUVs.

"In a difficult market, we were able to establish new sales records for Forester, Impreza and Legacy sedan and also record our highest market share ever," said Tim Colbeck, vice president of sales for Subaru of America, said in a statement.

The broader industry is set to post steep 2008 sales declines on Monday. For the first 11 months of 2008, every major automaker reported lower sales with the Detroit Three posting the biggest drops.

A handful of smaller automakers — including Mini and luxury names like Rolls Royce and Maserati — posted higher sales as of November, though their volumes are significantly smaller.
 

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I'd like to say I helped that increase b/c I bought an 08 Impreza :)
 

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Helped the sister in law back in the Midwest buy a car the week before New Years. She was favoring a Vibe or Mazda 3. The wife and I lobbied pretty hard for her to visit the Subaru dealer before she decided. She ended up with an 09 Impreza. The stopping and starting on ice impressed her.
 
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