Automakers Brace for U.S. Sales Slipping Into the Red
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. auto sales may slip into negative territory for the year, as plunging demand for passenger cars and costlier loans wipe out a stronger-than-expected start to 2018.
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- Sales probably slowed to an annualized rate of about 17.3 million in October, compared with 17.9 million a year earlier, with analysts expecting Nissan, General Motors and Ford to lead declines among the biggest automakers.
- A market that was cruising in the first half of the year on strong demand for sport utility vehicles including Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep Cherokee has succumbed to interest-rate hikes, making it more expensive for consumers to finance new-car purchases.
- Even if you’ve got fresh metal to sell, Americans aren’t interested in sedans: Demand for Toyota’s Camry and Honda’s Accord are down, despite recent redesigns and Detroit’s pullback from car segments.
- Carmakers sold roughly 21,000 more vehicles through the first nine months of the year than a year earlier, according to the researcher Autodata, so it won’t take much of a drop in October for the industry to be in decline for the year.
- Analysts expect that Ford probably rode big fleet sales of F-Series trucks and Transit vans back into the No. 3 position in the U.S. market, after Fiat Chrysler crept ahead in September.
- Still, Ford has another company hot on its heels: Its Lincoln luxury brand is holding a slim lead through the first nine months over Volvo, the Swedish carmaker it sold to China’s Geely in 2010.
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