Overall Truck Sales Down a Whopping 12 Percent

First quarter U.S. light truck sales are down 12 percent compared to first quarter 2007 sales, according to Automotive News data.

That startling number comes as fuel and food prices continue to rise, making it particularly tough for consumers to rationalize shopping for a new truck or SUV. Dealers say many previous truck owners have also been downsizing their vehicles for smaller cars, which in turn has flooded the market with used trucks and SUVs.

Some particularly stunning news from the 2008 first quarter sales figures:

Ford F-series and Dodge Ram sales all are down by more than 22,000 units compared to the same quarter in 2007. Likewise, Silverado sales are down by nearly 30,000 units, a 20 percent drop in demand.

For the most part, minivan sales are slightly down, but remain steady. The biggest first quarter sales losers were the Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan and the , which only found 33,271 and 33,697 new homes, respectively. In 2007’s first quarter, Dodge sold nearly 20,000 more Caravan models, while Honda was able to move almost 3,700 more Odysseys.

Compared 2007’s first quarter, sales of the Chrysler Aspen rose almost 1,000 units, while sales dropped by more than 5,000 units.

The , Mercury Mariner, and even the are hot sellers. Escape sales are up more than 10 percent, and Mariner sales are up 8 percent compared to 2007 first quarter numbers. Ford Ranger sales have increased by more than 3,000 units compared to 2007 first quarter numbers – not bad for a truck that hasn’t changed much in the past two decades.