Edmunds.com is forecasting that Toyota‘s share of the US light vehicle market in February will be its lowest since July 2005.

This month’s new vehicle sales (including fleet sales) are expected to be 785,000 units, a 14.2 percent increase from February 2009 and a 12.9 percent increase from January 2010, Edmunds says.

Edmunds.com analysts predict that February’s Seasonally Adjusted Annualised Rate (SAAR) will be 10.6m, down from 10.7m in January 2010.

“February sales figures looked encouraging, up from January of this year yet down from an abysmal performance last February.  A more nuanced view, however, raises some issues – the most important being that based on sales of recent months, February sales should have been higher.  (We would estimate in the range of 11.3-11.7 million SAAR.)   Sales over the Presidents’ Day weekend were robust—indicating that deal-seekers are still buying, but one strong weekend further illustrates how lacklustre sales were the remainder of the month,” said Jessica Caldwell, Director of Industry Analysis at Edmunds.com.

“Some of this can be explained by supply constraints for hot models, severe weather and/or by sales disruptions linked to Toyota’s recent troubles,” she said. 

“Less easy to explain is the recent drop in consumer confidence and the dampening effect this has on sales. We will have to wait until March to see if February is an aberration or a fundamental sign that the recovery in sales will be more subdued than hoped.”

The combined monthly U.S. market share for Chrysler, Ford and General Motors (GM) domestic nameplates is estimated to be 44.5 percent in February 2010, down from 45.2 percent in February 2009 and down from 45.6 percent in January 2010.

“Toyota’s market share will be the lowest since July 2005, and is expected to drop to 12.6 percent — but many of its Asian competitors benefitted from its recall woes,” commented Michelle Krebs, Senior Analyst of Edmunds’ AutoObserver.com. “Hyundai and Nissan are predicted to have their highest US market share.”

See also:
US: Pace of market recovery has ‘hit a speed bump’ – JD Power