This month’s US new vehicle sales (including fleet sales) are expected to be 1.48m units, a 3.0% decrease from March 2006, according to

This month has 28 selling days, one more than March 2006. When adjusted for this difference, sales decreased 6.5% from March 2006.

“This month, the industry faced debilitating winter storms, less compelling marketing messages and reduced fleet sales, so it is no surprise that year-over-year comparisons reflect a relative downturn,” said Edmunds’ top analyst Jesse Toprak. “Nevertheless, I believe we are still on track for annual sales volumes of approximately 16.5m vehicles, along the lines of what we saw in 2006.”

More cars were sold in March 2006 than any other month last year, and Toprak predicts that this March may be one of the best months of 2007.

Toprak also pointed out that the compact car segment – the industry’s hottest – is expected to be up 10% (unadjusted for selling days; up 6% adjusted) compared to March 2006.

The combined monthly US market share for Chrysler, Ford and General Motors (GM) domestic nameplates is estimated to be 53.7% in March 2007, down from 56.5% in March 2006 and down from 55.1% from February 2007.