Analysts predict U.S. light-vehicle sales in August will be down from last year despite high incentives and the need to clear out excess inventories.
Merrill Lynch analyst John Casesa predicts sales for the month will be at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17.2 million, down from a rate of 17.3 million in July and 17.9 million in August 2003.
Casesa predicts non-Big 3 sales, led by Nissan and Toyota, will gain 2.3 percent in August vs. last August.
He expects General Motors sales to decline 6 percent. Ford sales will decline 4.9 percent and Chrysler group sales are expected to be flat, Casesa says.
Burnham Securities analyst David Healy reports: "GM, Ford and Chrysler continue to battle the foreign brands for market share, and Detroit's results so far this year are underwhelming."