March Auto Sales Predictions

By: Lauren Woods

Edmunds.com, the leading online source for auto information, released its prediction on auto sales for the month of March. The online company predicted a three percent reduction in sales this month compared to March 2006.

Experts forecasted a 1.48 million sales output for this month. This prediction is released as the end of the month looms and car makers prepare to make public their sales output for the month.

This year's March has 28 selling days which is one more than last year. Even with the extra selling day, Edmunds.com still predicts that sales this month will be lower than that of last year. For the extra selling day, Edmunds.com forecasted adjusted and non-adjusted sales figures. The report shows predicted sales figure for the Big Three U.S. car manufacturers and for the three biggest Japanese and Asian auto makers.

For Chrysler, Edmunds.com predicts a reduction of 9.6 percent in sales when adjusted for more selling days and a 6.2 percent reduction when unadjusted. Ford seems to be facing yet another blow if Edmunds.com's prediction comes through. Ford is predicted to post a 20.2 percent reduction I sales compare to last year's March when adjusted and 17.2 percent decrease when unadjusted for the extra selling day.

General Motors, completing the U.S. triumvirate, is also predicted to decrease on its sales with a reduction of 4.8 percent adjusted and 1.3 percent decrease unadjusted. The prediction for the Big Three still shows that they have yet to address the challenge being posted by Asian rivals in the auto market.

Asian brands on the other hand are predicted to increase sales when unadjusted. Edmunds.com predicts that Honda will sell 3 percent more units than their output last year if the computation is not adjusted to the extra selling day. If adjusted though, the Asian brand is predicted to post a 0.6 percent reduction compared to last year.

Nissan, another Japanese brand is seen to post a 1.1 percent improvement in sales for the month when unadjusted. When adjusted though, the prediction shows a 2.5 percent reduction. The surging Toyota still looks dominant as it is predicted to post a 4.9 percent increase if the computation is adjusted for the extra selling days, if the computation is unadjusted, Toyota will post an 8.8 percent improvement.

This shows that the Asian brands are still cruising into the heart of the U.S. auto market as steady as an engine equipped with a system.

Jesse Toprak, the Executive Director of Industry Analysis for Edmunds.com, has this to say about the predicted reduction in sales for this month: "This month, the industry faced debilitating winter storms, less compelling marketing messages and reduced fleet sales, so it is no surprise that year-over-year comparisons reflect a relative downturn. Nevertheless, I believe we are still on track for annual sales volumes of approximately 16.5 million vehicles, along the lines of what we saw in 2006."

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