DETROIT Jan 4 Major automakers in the U.S.
market are expected to show robust December auto sales on
Wednesday, perhaps high enough for 2016 results to break the
record high set the previous year, according to a poll by
December auto sales are forecast at an average 17.7 million
vehicles on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis, according to
a Thomson Reuters poll of 35 economists. If sales reach that
level in December, 2016 will set a new annual record.
Investors will watch to see if consumer discounts, which cut
into company profits, are also at a record high, which analysts
December sales will also give a hint of what is in store in
2017. Industry consultants LMC Automotive and J.D. Power
forecast 2017 sales between 17.4 million and 17.5 million, just
below what is expected for 2016.
Ford Motor Co Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields said
on Tuesday he expected auto sales to be helped by "pro-growth"
policies expected by the incoming administration of
President-elect Donald Trump.
Most automakers including the top three U.S.-based companies
General Motors Co, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
will report by mid-morning Wednesday.
Nissan Motor Co's luxury brand Infiniti said
earlier Wednesday its December U.S. sales totaled 18,200
vehicles, up 20 percent from a year earlier. U.S. full-year
Infiniti sales rose 4 percent to 153,500 vehicles. Globally,
Infiniti sold 230,000 vehicles in 2016, an increase of 7 percent
from a year earlier.
Analysts polled by Reuters expect GM's December U.S. sales
to increase by about 3.5 percent from a year earlier, while Ford
declines about 2.5 percent and Fiat Chrysler drops between 10
percent and 15 percent.
Japan's Toyota Motor Corp sales are expected to
decline between 1 percent and 4 percent from December 2015,
according to analysts.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)