This month's US new vehicle sales (including fleet sales) are expected to be 1.38m units, a 6.2% decrease from December 2005, according to Edmunds.com. This would result in total industry sales of 16.46m units for 2006, down 2.8% from 16.93m units in 2005.

"This year-over-year decline is not a surprise. The drop of approximately 400,000 units is largely attributed to the production cuts that the domestics announced at the beginning of the year," Jesse Toprak, Edmunds' executive director of industry analysis. "We didn't expect an increase in sales for the year since the cost of gasoline and other economic trends made many people hesitate before buying a new car in 2006."

This December had 26 selling days, one less than last December 2005. When adjusted for this difference, sales decreased 2.6% from December 2005.

The combined monthly US market share for Chrysler, Ford and General Motors (GM) domestic nameplates is estimated to be 54.3% in December 2006, down from 56.6% in December 2005 and up slightly from 53.2% from November 2006.