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March Light-Vehicle Sales Stronger Than Expected: J.D. Power and Associates

March 19, 2002

New light-vehicle sales in March are projected to reach a 16.5 million to 17 million seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR), based on Power Information Network (PIN) retail sales data from the first two weeks of the month.

With steady volume the first two weeks of the month, March sales are expected to come in less than 1 percent below what was a very strong March 2001.

"We had expected the first quarter to be the weakest of the year, but it appears we're going to be pleasantly surprised," said Dr. Walter

McManus, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates. "Based on the robust sales of the first quarter, we're boosting our 2002 calendar-year forecast from 16 million units to 16.4 million units."

Despite many of the aggressive incentive programs still in place through the end March, domestic vehicle sales continue to show the greatest year-over-year declines. European automakers are benefiting from a strong

luxury car market.

At the segment level, SUV sales continue to grow in March. The sporty car, luxury car and pickup segments are also seeing strong year-over-year sales, while the van, full-size and midsize car segments are expected to post double-digit declines from a year ago.

J.D. Power and Associates' sales forecasts are derived from a joint effort between its Global Forecasting Department and Power Information

Network (PIN), a division of J.D. Power and Associates that gathers new-vehicle retail transaction data from more than 5,000 participating auto franchises in 23 U.S. markets.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Agoura Hills, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services firm operating in business

sectors including market research, forecasting, consulting, training and customer satisfaction.

J.D. Power and Associates can be accessed through the Internet at

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