Japanese automakers have made market share gains and boosted sales in a down U.S. market at the expense of domestic automakers -- and much of the falloff for Detroit automakers comes from fewer sales to businesses and government fleets, according to Art Spinella of Bandon, Ore.-based CNW Marketing/Research. Merrill Lynch analyst John Casesa told USA Today on May 8 that the Japanese automakers' market share jumped 2.2 points through April to 27.3 percent. That's up from 23.2 percent in March 2000. Casesa says the gains are "the equivalent to about two plants of production, so this year's gains, if held, are enough to fill Honda's and Nissan's upcoming new factories" in Alabama and Mississippi. According to Casesa, Japanese automakers have some of the hottest new products, such as the Toyota Highlander and Acura MDX, that compete in the sport-utility vehicle segment once dominated by GM, Ford and Chrysler. CNW's Spinella also says that despite good news for the Japanese, they shouldn't become complacent, because of the presence of South Korean automakers. Young new-car buyers are going for Korean cars "just like their parents bought Japanese vehicles instead of American cars in the 1980s," Spinella said.