January auto sales could increase or decrease

Staff report


January auto sales could increase by 1 percent year-over-year with 1.15 million sales, Cox Automotive analysts say.

Meanwhile, Edmunds analysts are forecasting a 1.4 percent decrease with 1.12 million sales.

“January is always a difficult month to forecast because it follows the year-end holiday sales frenzy, but our expectations are that the pace of sales will be moderate,” said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist for Cox Automotive.

Edmunds analyst Jessica Caldwell said in January, automakers end the more generous incentive programs that were in place at the end of 2017.

“It’s typical to see a slowdown at dealerships in January following the high-selling holiday months,” Caldwell said. “This isn’t necessarily a solid indicator of the direction that the year is headed in terms of overall sales.”

Edmunds expects General Motors to post a 4.2 percent increase in sales; Ford a 7.3 percent decrease; Toyota a 7.7 percent increase; Fiat Chrysler a 15.2 percent decrease; and Honda a 0.8 percent increase.

Cox Automotive expects GM to post a 4.6 percent increase; Ford a 3.6 percent decrease; Toyota a 4.9 percent increase; Fiat Chrysler an 8 percent decrease; and Honda a 3.4 percent increase.

Segmentwise, Cox Automotive expects the compact sports utility vehicle to post a 5 percent increase; full-size pickup trucks, a 4.5 percent increase; midsize SUVs, a 3.5 percent increase; compact cars, a 5 percent decrease; and midsize cars, a 7 percent decrease.

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