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SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Toyota's generous incentives appear to be giving the automaker a significant sales performance boost, according to Edmunds.com.

Site analysts believe Toyota's March sales figures should climb a whopping 82 percent as compared to February. The automaker's incentives include zero-percent APR financing for up to 60 months for qualified buyers on 2010 Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Highlander, Matrix, RAV4, Tundra and Yaris models.

"What a difference a month makes for Toyota, whose sales climbed since February thanks to generous incentives and more balanced headlines," explained Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis for Edmunds.com.

"At this point, Toyota seems to be making large strides in reinstating its good name and appealing to car shoppers," Caldwell added.

While no other single automaker could claim a month-to-month jump as large as Toyota's in Edmunds.com's forecast, five other OEMs are predicted to climb by at least 33 percent.

Leading that pack is Hyundai with a gain of 57.8 percent. The rest of this group includes Ford (43.3 percent), Nissan (41.2 percent), General Motors (39.3 percent) and Honda (33.1 percent).

Looking at the sales forecast as a whole, Edmunds.com believes new-vehicle sales including fleets will come in at 1,119,700 units. The site indicated that the figure represents a 30.9-percent increase from last March's total and a 43.9-percent rise from last month.

Furthermore, analysts predict that March's seasonally adjusted annualized rate will be 12.4 million, up from 10.3 million reported in February.

Edmunds.com chief executive officer Jeremy Anwyl cautioned against taking a stance that the nation's financial situation is rosy because of the significant SAAR jump.

"Although this SAAR sounds promising, it's too early to wave the flag and say that the economy has turned the corner," Anwyl contended.

"Incentives drove sales this month, but those were defensive moves in response to Toyota stepping up incentives and are unlikely to last because inventories are simply not high enough to justify them in the long term," he stated.

Edmunds.com also spotted a slip in U.S. market share for the domestic manufacturers. Analysts estimated that the share for Chrysler, Ford and GM should be 44 percent in March. They said that figure dipped from the 45.1 percent mark in March of last year and from 47.1 percent share recorded last month.

 Edmunds.com March 2010 New-Car Sales Market Forecast
 Maker  Total Predicted
 Units Sold
 Change from
 March 2009
 Change from
 February 2010
 Chrysler  94,100  – 6.5  + 11.7
 Ford  201,100  + 55.5  + 43.3
 General Motors  197,200  + 27.0  + 39.3
 Honda  107,400  + 21.5  + 33.1
 Hyundai  91,600  + 40.0  + 57.8
 Nissan  99,100  + 48.7  + 41.2
 Toyota  182,100  + 37.1  + 82.0


 Maker  Predicted
 Market Share
 March 2009
 Market Share
 February 2010
 Market Share
 Chrysler  8.4  11.8  10.8
 Ford  18.0  15.1  18.0
 General Motors  17.6  18.2  18.2
 Honda  9.6  10.3  10.4
 Hyundai  8.2  7.7  7.5
 Nissan  8.9  7.8  9.0
 Toyota  16.3  15.5  12.9