DETROIT -- Big 3 employee discounts may have pulled ahead more than 200,000 sales the last two months, industry forecaster CSM Worldwide says.
CSM says it expects General Motors, Ford and Chrysler group sales to cool off the rest of the year and predicts 16.95 million vehicles will be sold in the United States in 2005.
"Employee pricing programs were highly successful at jump-starting sales demand and diminishing 2005 model inventory," Joseph Barker, manager of CSM's North American sales analysis said in a statement. "However, we are concerned about the lasting ramifications it will have on residual values and brand equity."
GM and Ford extended their discount plans through Sept. 6, and Chrysler has not announced an end date.
In its light-vehicle sales forecast, CSM also is predicting that GM's market share will slide to 23.3 percent in 2009, before rebounding.
CSM projects Toyota will have 15.3 percent of the U.S. market by 2009 and could narrow GM's global sales lead to 140,000 by 2008. CSM also says expansion into China and other emerging markets could spur worldwide sales of light vehicles to 69 million by 2011.