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Research Reports: Industry-Wide Retail Sales Slump Lessens as Consumer Interest in Large Vehicles Rebounds

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Nov. 18, 2005 -- Retail new-vehicle sales for the first 13 days of November are substantially better than the preliminary results for early October, bolstered in part by a rebound in consumer interest in large vehicles, according to the Power Information Network (PIN), the industry's premier source for real-time automotive retail sales data.

Retail sales of new vehicles are down 15 percent for the first 13 days of November compared with the same time period a year ago. This is in stark contrast to a 33 percent drop experienced in the first nine days of October from the same time period in 2004. By the end of October, retail sales recovered slightly, resulting in a 22 percent drop versus October 2004.

Total pickup sales are up 4 percent, SUV sales are up 2 percent and sales for full-size cars have risen 7 percent when comparing early November with early October results. At the same time, compact, sporty and midsize vehicles have all seen declines in sales compared to early October results. The compact car segment is down 19 percent, sporty cars are down 14 percent and midsize cars have dropped 9 percent.

"The industry is beginning to pull out of the September/October sales slump due to lower gas prices, a renewed interest in large vehicles, the initial success of several new products and an increase in incentives," said Tom Libby, senior director of industry analysis at PIN. "Both rebate amounts and the use of rebates have rebounded substantially from October."

Power Information Network data indicates that the average customer cash rebate in the first 13 days of November was $2,640 versus $2,154 in early October, and 51 percent of all transactions in November included a rebate versus 49 percent in October. Rebates on pickups reached $3,617 in November versus $2,887 in the prior month, and SUV rebates climbed to $2,936 from $2,412.

"By the end of the year, we expect total car sales to be up approximately 3 percent, while truck sales will remain flat," said Michael Dawson, senior analyst of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates. "However, this is not attributed to small cars, as full-size car sales will increase approximately 22 percent. Overall, the market is essentially flat compared to 2004."

At the manufacturer level, Ford Motor Company's retail sales have declined 30 percent from the same period in 2004 and its share of the retail market is 15.3 percent (compared to 18.3% a year ago). General Motors' retail sales are down 24 percent and its share is 18.8 percent (versus 21%). DaimlerChrysler's sales are off slightly compared to the industry, and its share of 13.6 percent remains flat versus early November 2004.

American Honda and Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. continue to outperform the retail sales market average. Honda's retail sales are up 1 percent and its share has climbed to 12.2 percent (versus 10.2%). Toyota's sales have declined by 2 percent versus a year ago and its share has climbed to 17.9 percent (versus 15.4%). Toyota's early November share is the second largest in the industry after GM. Nissan North America's sales have dropped 15 percent and its share remains flat at 7.8 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

About Power Information Network (PIN)

PIN's automotive solutions are based on the collection and analysis of daily new- and used-vehicle retail transaction information from more than 10,000 automotive dealership franchises in North America. PIN's industry- leading automotive solutions incorporate consumer demand and sales information to improve business for automotive dealers, manufacturers, lenders, and other companies in the industry. Additional information is available at http://www.powerinfonet.com/

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is an ISO 9001-registered global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, consulting, training and customer satisfaction. The firm's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education and BusinessWeek. The Corporation has more than 300 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2004 were $5.3 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.