U.S. Forecast: October Auto Sales Rate Flat with Prior-Year

U.S. Forecast: October Auto Sales Rate Flat with Prior-Year

The daily sales rate of 52,579 units is nearly equivalent to like-2016.

A WardsAuto forecast calls for U.S. automakers to deliver 1.31 million light vehicles in October. A daily sales rate of 52,579 units over 25 days is nearly equivalent to like-2016’s 52,584 units for 26 days.

The DSR is 9.9% below the prior month, a greater drop than the 8.8% 7-year average downturn between the two months because September 2017 sales were exceptionally high.

The report puts the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales for October at 17.55 million units, behind year-ago’s 17.80 million and prior-month’s 18.48 million mark.

General Motors is forecast to deliver 249,000 light vehicles, a 0.3% increase in DSR versus year-ago. Its year-to-date total is 1.1% behind same-period 2016.

Toyota’s LV DSR is expected to rise 7.1%. The forecasted 192,000 LV deliveries will give the automaker a 14.6% share of the market, compared with 13.6% in like-2016. For the first 10 months of this year, sales will be up 0.7%.

The report calls for Ford to gain 3.0% from year-ago on 182,000 LV deliveries. A 13.8% share of the market is up from 13.4% prior-year. The forecasted year-to-date total is down 2.8%.

FCA US is projected to grab an 11.0% share in October vs. 12.8% last year. DSR is down 14.0% on sales of 145,000 units, yielding a 10-month result down 8.9%.

Honda’s sales may slip 0.3% to 121,000 units for the month. The forecast calls for Nissan to post a 1.6% improvement from year-ago with 111,000 sales. Hyundai Group should see deliveries decline 5.3% to 101,000 LVs.

At forecast levels, October LV sales would bring the year-to-date total to 14.1 million units, down 2.1% from same-period 2016.

September’s sales reduced a significant part of the excess inventory heading into the month. However, inventory still remained 10% to 15% above the estimated optimum level needed to meet current demand. Stocks totaled 3.76 million units, a record high for the month, and 1.9% above like-2016.

WardsAuto expects inventory at the end of October to sit at 3.81 million units, down 0.9% from prior-year. At the forecast sales rate, this results in a 72-day supply. A figure in the low 70s is a good level for this time of year if sales in November and December average an expected 17.5 million-unit SAAR.

Demand in the fourth quarter is expected to start out strong and remain so if excessive inventory remains an issue. Replacement demand is expected to continue into November, though the impact should be smaller.

WardsAuto forecasts full-year sales just above 17.0 million units, but the final total will depend on how much automakers are willing to use incentives for inventory control during Q4.

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