January new vehicle sales (including fleet sales) are expected to be 701,000 units with a seasonally adjusted annualised rate (SAAR) of 10.7m, down from 11.2m in December 2009, Edmunds.com said on Friday.

Sales would be up 7.1% year on year (16% adjusted for selling days) but off 31.7% versus December 2009.

"December is generally one of the strongest sales months of the year, while January is typically one of the weakest, and that held true this season," said Edmunds analyst Jessica Caldwell. "This month’s sales were buoyed by hefty hikes in fleet sales."

The combined monthly US market share for the domestic Chrysler, Ford and General Motors brands was estimated at 47.2% in January 2010, up from 43.4% in January 2009 and up from 46.2% in December 2009.

"Toyota’s market share is likely to drop to 14.7% in January; the last time it was that low was in March 2006 when its share was 14.2% of U.S. sales. In contrast, Ford is expected to have its best month for market share since May 2006 at 18.0%. The last time it was that high was in May 2006 at 18.4%."

Chrysler sales are seen up 5.7% to 65,000 units and down 24.3% from December 2009 for a new car market share of 9.3%.

Ford will sell 126,000 units in January 2010, up 33.4% compared to January 2009 and down 30.4% from December 2009 for a new car market share of 18.0%.

Edmunds forecast GM would sell 140,000 units, up 8.8% year on year but down 32.7% from December 2009 for market share of 19.9%.

Honda sales were seen up 2.8% to will sell 73,000 units, Hyundai down 0.9% to 46,000, Nissan up 13.7% to 61,000 units and Toyota down 11.9% to 103,000 units. 

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