Westlake Village, Calif. - J.D. Power & Associates' latest new light-vehicle sales report predicts sales of 14.5 million units in 2008, the lowest level since 1995 and nearly a million units fewer than the original forecast. The marketing information firm blames degrading consumer confidence and comparitively limited incentive package for declines in the retail sector; a predicted 12.3 million units, down from 12.8 in 2007.

“The downturn in retail sales — coupled with declines across the fleet market — also contribute to the overall reassessment of new-vehicle sales for 2008,” said Bob Schnorbus, chief economist at J.D. Power and Associates. “Unfortunately, the current economic environment is fraught with uncertainty and risk, with the financial crisis, worsening oil prices, and weak housing and stock markets steadily impacting other sectors of the economy. As such, our revised forecast is better positioned to reflect the challenges automakers will face in the months ahead.”