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SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Edmunds.com expects Memorial Day to be a busy time for dealerships. Site analysts described potential sales traffic during the holiday weekend as "especially strong this year."

Edmunds.com indicated that new-vehicle sales have been relatively weak so far this month. The site even suggested that May SAAR may drop slightly from April's 11.2 million.

However, analysts reminded dealers that Memorial Day weekend is traditionally a great opportunity for discounts, and buyers have become conditioned to expect them.

"Over the past week we've seen a notable uptick in the online activity linked to purchase intent," noted Edmunds.com chief executive officer Jeremy Anwyl.

"Given the bargain-hunting behavior we've witnessed throughout the recession, I'm guessing that demand is building for anticipated Memorial Day sales events," Anwyl continued.

So far in May, Edmunds.com found the average incentive is down about $200 per vehicle sold compared with April. The site interjected that it's not unusual for automakers to launch holiday weekend deals at the last minute.

"Ironically, car shoppers motivated by the expectation of discounts don't always pay less for their cars," stated Edmunds.com senior analyst Ray Zhou.

"During the Chrysler and GM bankruptcies, the Toyota recall crisis and other significant periods when one would expect discounts to be rampant, we actually saw transaction prices for new cars rise," Zhou went on to explain. "On those occasions, it is likely that many people didn't do as much research or negotiation as they could have."