This month's US new vehicle sales (including fleet sales) are expected to be 1.209m units, a 3.9% decrease from February 2006 but an 11.4% increase over January 2007, according to analysts at Edmunds.com.

"Luxury SUVs and compact cars are selling remarkably well this month. We predict they will be up 17.8% and 10.5%, respectively, over last February," said Edmunds' executive director of industry analysis Jesse Toprak.

"At the other end of the spectrum, sales of large and midsize cars are slower than they were at this time last year. We predict that large car sales will be down 18.2% and that midsize cars will dip 10.7%."

The combined monthly US market share for Chrysler, Ford and General Motors (GM) domestic nameplates is estimated to be 53.0% in February 2007, down from 57.9% a year ago and up from 51.8% in January 2007.

Toprak added: "Domestic sales continue to suffer from pre-planned production cuts and reduction of fleet sales. Year-over-year comparisons will reflect this reality for some time."

"The domestic automakers hate to see negative numbers, but they know that this painful move is necessary to increase residual values and rebuild brand equity," added Michelle Krebs of Edmunds' AutoObserver.com.

Edmunds.com predicts Chrysler will sell 173,000 units in February 2007, down 9.2% compared to February 2006 and up 10.6% from January 2007. This would result in a new car market share of 14.3% for Chrysler in February 2007, down from 15.1% in February 2006 and down slightly from 14.4% in January 2007.

Ford is predicted to sell 184,000 units in February, down 23.1% compared to February 2006 but up 14.2% from January 2007. This would result in a market share of 15.2%, down from 19.0% in February 2006 and up from 14.8% in January 2007.

GM will sell 284,000 units in February 2007, according to Edmunds, down 4.9% compared to February 2006 and up from 15.7% from January 2007 for a market share of 23.5%, down slightly from 23.7% in February 2006 and up from 22.6% in January 2007.

Edmunds predicts Toyota will sell 195,000 units in February 2007, up 16.6% from February 2006 and up 10.6% from January 2007. Toyota's market share is expected to be 16.1% in February 2007, up from 13.3% in February 2006 and down slightly from 16.2% in January 2007.