Forecast: U.S. Automakers to Record Best January in Eight Years

The latest WardsAuto forecast calls for U.S. automakers to sell 1.13 million light vehicles this month, equating to a 16.4 million-unit SAAR.

John Sousanis, Director, Information Content

January 23, 2015

2 Min Read
Forecast: U.S. Automakers to Record Best January in Eight Years

A WardsAuto forecast calls for U.S. automakers to deliver 1.13 million light vehicles in January, marking the industry’s best kickoff since January 2006.

The resulting daily sales rate (DSR) of 43,568 units over 26 days represents an 8.1% improvement from like-2014 (25 days) and a 24.4% month-to-month decline from December (26 days).

The report puts the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales for the month at 16.4 million units, compared with a year-ago SAAR of 15.2 million and December’s 16.8 million mark.

The forecast assumption that December sales included above-trend pull-ahead sales from January is supported by reports of very light retail sales at the beginning of the month. However, mild end-of-month weather, compared with year-ago, and industry reports of strengthening sales, also factored into the forecast.

Inventory should easily support the forecast sales rate, as LV inventory reached 3.5 million units at the end of December. Stocks are expected to rise to 3.7 million by the end of the month - a 2.7% increase over year-ago equating to 85 days’ supply at the projected DSR.

General Motors sits atop WardsAuto’s forecast, with projected sales of over 203,000 LVs and an 18% share of LV sales. The 14.1% increase over year-ago, driven by strong light-truck deliveries, is second on the forecast behind only Subaru’s projected 17% jump on 40,000 sales.

The forecast calls for Ford to deliver 170,000 LVs in January and reclaim the No.2 sales spot after ceding the position to Toyota in November and December. The projected 9% DSR gain comes despite Ford’s continued tight control of F-Series pickup inventory, and gives the company a 15% LV share.

Toyota’s DSR should best year-ago by 7%, on 163,000 deliveries, maintaining the automaker’s December market share of 14.4%.

FCA’s projected 12.4% share is below its December take of 12.8%, with WardsAuto forecasting a 6.2% year-over-year gain for the automaker on 140,000 LV sales.

The forecast also calls for Nissan to outsell Honda for the first time since March 2014, with an 11% DSR gain on 104,000 deliveries and a 9.2% share, compared with 102,000 unit-sales and a 9% share forecast for Honda.

WardsAuto is forecasting 16.8 million LV sales for calendar year 2015, with a total Q1 SAAR approaching the 16.7 million-unit rate in line with the second half of 2014. The forecast reflects positive year-end economic data including steady declines in unemployment, improving wages and rising consumer confidence, as reflected in December Thomson Reuters University of Michigan Survey of Consumers, which showed consumer sentiment at an 8-year high.

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About the Author(s)

John Sousanis

Director, Information Content, WardsAuto

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