DETROIT -- Sure, it's only a summer blowout sale, and it may be short-lived, but the Big 3 are stealing market share in a monster sales month.
But it's not clear how long the party will last, because some GM dealers are running low on 2005 models.
In the first two weeks of July, General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler group grabbed a collective 62.4 percent of U.S. retail sales. That's up 6 percentage points from the same period a year earlier, according to the Power Information Network's sales data.
The data suggest that the GM Employee Discount for Everyone incentive and copycat programs at Chrysler and Ford have not lost steam. All three programs are scheduled to run through July.
The recent numbers are a sharp - though likely temporary - reversal of the Big 3's decades-long decline. (See stories on Pages 25-26.)
The Power Information Network gathers sales information from 6,200 dealerships. Those data suggest that July will be a strong month for the industry. Sales volumes for Toyota, Nissan and Honda are up, even though each lost market share.
Based on seasonally adjusted annual sales, J.D. Power estimates July's annualized results will top 19 million units. But J.D. Power has not raised its projection of 16.9 million units for the year.
General Motors confirmed projections of strong sales. The first 20 days of July's employee pricing program have been good, especially for trucks, says Paul Ballew, executive director of market and industry analysis.
While GM sales appear to be down somewhat from an extraordinarily strong June, sales are up sharply from the year-ago period. "We expect a strong industry and a duplication of June," Ballew says.