Sales of U.S. light vehicles are slowing slightly in May, running 1 to 2 percent below sales for May of last year, according to J.D. Power and Associates. New light-vehicle sales in May are projected to register a 16.4 million-unit seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR), based on Power Information Network (PIN) retail sales data from the first two weeks of the month. Light-vehicle sales in May 2001 came in at a 16.5 million SAAR. With retail sales softening, actual units sold in May are expected to reach 1.577 million, according to J.D. Power and Associates. "We expect that slowing retail sales will be offset by only moderate declines in fleet sales compared with the substantial declines seen in the early months of the year," said Dr. Robert Schnorbus, chief economist at J.D. Power and Associates. "Fleet sales were very weak last quarter. However, rental companies are already signaling their intent to increase purchases." Despite the dip in total sales in May from April's strong performance, J.D. Power and Associates says it is keeping its 2002 calendar-year forecast at 16.5 million units. "We anticipate that there may be a few minor bumps in coming months, but overall 2002 will be another very strong sales year," Schnorbus said. At the segment level, luxury cars, SUVs and compact cars continue to experience strong sales, showing the greatest gains compared with a year ago. Midsize and sports cars have struggled all year. "As has been the pattern for some time, Big Three sales appear to be lagging behind those of foreign automakers in May," Schnorbus said. "So far, only the Asians are likely to experience year-over-year gains this month and even those gains could be modest." J.D. Power and Associates' sales forecasts are derived from a joint effort between its Global Forecasting Department and Power Information Network (PIN), a division of J.D. Power and Associates that gathers new-vehicle retail transaction data from more than 5,000 participating auto franchises in 23 U.S. markets. Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, consulting, training and customer satisfaction.