New Vehicle Sales Sputter in December

Investors ignore sales outlook

Sales were hit by lower sales to auto rental companies.

Ford Motors published sales figures Wednesday showing it achieved total vehicle sales of 242,049 in December, a 0.9% increase from the same month a year earlier.

But leasing also has a downside for automakers, since the influx of late-model used cars returning to the market will cut into sales of new vehicles. And, while GM's total sales across 2017 were 1% lower than 2016, that is likely to be a better end result than the industry average which is now forecast to be a 2% drop in 2017 from 2016. The American automaker finished the year with 308,474 units sold, an increase of 1.3 per cent from 2016. For the year, Nissan reported total calendar year sales in the USA of 1,593,464 units, an increase of 1.9% over the prior year, setting an all-time record.

General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover and Volkswagen all reported sales decreases for December while Ford Motor and Audi reported modest gains as the auto industry finished a year in which the growth in overall sales stopped and then declined.

Ford's sales in the United States a year ago fell 1.1% to 2.6 million compared with 2016, but it reports a surprise increase last month, fuelled in part by the continued success of the F-Series pickups and other large vehicles. That would be the first year-over-year decline since 2009, ending an unprecedented seven-year expansion.

US sales of new vehicles are expected to fall 2 percent to 17.1 million in 2017, according to Kelley Blue Book. But some luxury brands struggled. FCA ended the year with 267,052 vehicles sold, a decline of four per cent from the previous year.

Near term Outlook For United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:UAL)
It worsened, as 86 investors sold UAL shares while 191 reduced holdings. 103 funds opened positions while 433 raised stakes. The stock of Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) earned "Hold" rating by BMO Capital Markets on Friday, October 6.

Total monthly sales compare to an estimate of 232,000 by analysts Kelley Blue Book (KBB), who also estimated an average transaction price of $40,421, up 2.5% year over year and up 1% compared with November's average selling price of $40,023.

The record in light truck sales comes as automakers shift their production to meet increasing SUV and truck demand. GM reported a less dramatic monthly drop than analysts expected, as sales of the Chevrolet Silverado climbed 25%. Passenger auto sales dropped 14.2% while sport utility vehicle sales rose 2.9% and truck sales rose 4.3%.

Truck sales dipped 1% for the month, and sales of F-Series pickups increased by 2.1%.

Meanwhile, as the Canadian government continues to look at ways to increase electric-vehicle adoption, GM's electric vehicles account for a small portion of its overall sales.

Full-year vehicle sales at Ford, meanwhile, totalled 2,586,715.

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