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Edmunds.com Forecasts May Auto Sales: Rising Gas Prices Slow Car Sales

May 24, 2007

Santa Monica, Calif. — This month's new vehicle sales (including fleet sales) are expected to be 1.48 million units, a 0.3-percent decrease from May 2006, according to Edmunds.com.

May 2007 had 26 selling days, one more than May 2006. When adjusted for this difference, sales decreased 4.2 percent from May 2006.

"As gas prices climb, many consumers are taking a conservative approach to car-buying. Additionally, numbers are down because domestics continue to cut production, reducing fleet sales and better matching supply with retail demand. However, these factors are not causing sales to fall as dramatically as one might expect," said Jesse Toprak, executive director of industry analysis for Edmunds.com.

The combined monthly U.S. market share for Chrysler, Ford and General Motors (GM) domestic nameplates is estimated to be 53.1 percent in May 2007, down from 54.2 percent in May 2006 and from 54.2 percent in April 2007.

"It looks like Chrysler's new products and clever promotions are resonating; consumers are no longer steering clear as some seemed to do when the company was put up for sale. Ford insiders told us to expect double-digit drops this year, and they haven't miscalculated. GM must be disappointed that its new products are not generating enough interest to boost its numbers,” commented Michelle Krebs, senior editor of Edmunds' AutoObserver.com.

Edmunds.com predicts Chrysler will sell 204,000 units in May 2007, up 6.9 percent compared to May 2006. This would result in a new car market share of 13.8 percent for Chrysler in May 2007, up slightly from 12.9 percent in May 2006 and down from 14.5 percent in April 2007.

Edmunds.com predicts Ford will sell 240,000 units in May 2007, down 12.3 percent compared to May 2006. This would result in a market share of 16.2 percent of new car sales in May 2007 for Ford, down from 18.5 percent in May 2006 and from 16.6 percent in April 2007.

Edmunds.com predicts GM will sell 340,000 units in May 2007, up 0.4 percent compared to May 2006. GM's market share is expected to be 23.0 percent of new vehicle sales in May 2007, up slightly from 22.9 percent in May 2006 and down slightly from 23.2 percent in April 2007.

“As for the major Japanese brands, Honda is about to launch a new Accord and is likely expecting a boost from that introduction. Nissan’s new products are not breaking sales records, which is probably breaking Nissan executives’ hearts. Toyota’s momentum continues, maybe in part because consumers associate its brand with fuel efficiency despite the many SUVs and trucks in its fleet,” said Krebs.

Edmunds.com predicts Honda will sell 141,000 units in May 2007, down 0.8 percent from May 2006. Its market share is expected to be 9.5 percent in May 2007, down slightly from 9.6 percent in May 2006 and unchanged from 9.5 percent in April 2007.

Edmunds.com predicts Nissan will sell 85,000 units in May 2007, down about 1.8 percent from May 2006. Nissan's market share is expected to be 5.8 percent in May 2007, unchanged from 5.8 percent in May 2006 and up from 5.3 percent in April 2007.

Edmunds.com predicts Toyota will sell 244,000 units in May 2007, up about 3.6 percent from May 2006. Toyota's market share is expected to be 16.5 percent in May 2007, up from 15.9 percent in May 2006 and up from 15.8 percent from April 2007.

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