DaimlerChrysler, Ford, General Motors and Hyundai Motor each lost retail market share in the first 11 days of December when compared to a similar period a year ago, according to the Power Information Network (PIN).

Retail market share for DaimlerChrysler was down to 12.6% compared to the first 12 days of December 2004 (13.3%). Ford's retail market share was 15.8% (compared to 17.9% a year ago), GM's share was down to 21.7% (versus 22.4%) and Hyundai's share declined to 3.8% (versus 4.1%). While retail share declined among domestic car makers compared with a year ago, BMW, GM and Ford increased their market share compared to November 2005 results.

Conversely, Toyota and Honda gained market share, while Nissan's share was flat compared to early December 2004. Toyota's market share increased to 17.1% (versus 15.5%), Honda's share was 11.8% (versus 10.5%) and Nissan's market share was flat at 7.4%. Overall, the domestics are still below long-term historical share levels in December, while American Honda and Toyota are up considerably.

"GM and Ford are slowly pulling out of their slumps following the summer sales events, but they continue to lose share to Toyota and Honda, among others," said PIN analyst Tom Libby. "Volkswagen also appears to be making progress, while sales at both DCX and Hyundai Motor are moderating."

Overall, industry new-vehicle retail sales were down 14% for the first 11 days of December compared to 2004. All multi-franchise manufacturers except BMW (up 3%) were showing a sales decline in early December. Aside from Honda (down 3%) and Toyota (down 6%), all multi-franchise manufacturers were down by double digits.

"December of 2004 was an exceptionally strong sales month, with an 18.3-million-unit selling rate that was driven by year-end incentive programmes," said JD Power and Associates chief economist Bob Schnorbus. "That makes any year-over-year comparison hard to make, especially with regard to the Big Three."

Although industry sales have declined compared to a year ago, the decline was less significant when compared to November 2005 results. Industry retail new vehicle sales were down only 6% in early December when compared with early November, and two automakers, General Motors (up 5%) and BMW (up 3%), showed an increase.

While sales have slowed, new vehicles were sitting on dealer lots for a shorter amount of time than they were a year ago. The average number of days a new vehicle sat on a dealer lot before being sold in early December was 54 days. Average days to turn during the fourth quarter of 2004, which includes October, November and December, was 68 days. In early December 2005, every major manufacturer's days to turn dropped except for DaimlerChrysler (which increased 11%) and Nissan (which was flat), compared to December 2004.