U.S. sales of cars and light trucks in May are expected to be about 1.58 million vehicles, or 1.8 percent lower than year-ago levels, marketing information firm J.D. Power and Associates said this week.
That would translate into a 16.4 million-vehicle seasonally adjusted annualized rate.
Some Asian automakers contacted Wednesday said they expect May sales to be either stable or up from year-ago levels. Big 3 automakers declined to offer projections.
"As has been the pattern for some time, Big 3 sales appear to be lagging behind those of foreign automakers in May," said Robert Schnorbus, chief economist for J.D. Power.
Merrill Lynch analyst John Casesa said he expects General Motors to be up about 5 percent in May; DaimlerChrysler AG to be up almost 7 percent; and Ford Motor Co. sales to be down about 10 percent.
But he also projects total May sales to be up about 1 percent, according to his industry report released Wednesday.
Nissan North America said its vehicle sales of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles as of Tuesday were up 6.2 percent compared with May 2001.
Honda said it expects May sales of Honda-brand vehicles to be about 95,000 units, or about the same as last year, when sales totaled 96,953 units.
Toyota made no projections, but a spokesman said the automaker expects healthy sales over the Memorial Day weekend, when the automaker is offering low financing deals.