JD Power and Associates has lowered its 2003 North American light-vehicle sales forecast to 16.1 million units.

“Our concerns with growing domestic inventories and the fact that consumers are becoming numb to a $US2,000 average sales incentive have led us to lower our North American production forecast to 16.1 million units for 2003,” said J D Power director of North American forecasting Jeff Schuster.

“With a slowdown in sales going into 2003 being the primary driver, we expect production to be down nearly 350,000 units, or four percent, in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2002. The lost volume will not be shared equally among producers, as new model activity at Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi will drive their production volume higher in 2003.”

Despite new models from General Motors and DaimlerChrysler, JD Power expects the traditional Big Three share of production to fall to an all-time low of 73%, down from 75% in 2002.