US vehicle sales seen lower in January on drop in fleet demand

US light-vehicle retail sales continue to bounce back following a pandemic-related shutdown last year, but Benchmark Co. predicts total deliveries will fall 1.9% in January due mostly to weak demand from corporate fleet buyers.

Representational Image: Cars are parked in an auto dealer lot. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (AP)
Representational Image: Cars are parked in an auto dealer lot. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

January new car and truck sales are expected to decline to 1.07 million, down from 1.13 million a year ago, according to Michael Ward, a Benchmark analyst. The projected drop is “largely related to lower sales to fleet customers," Ward said in a research note published Sunday.

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Deliveries fell to 16.3 million on seasonally adjusted annual rate basis, down from 16.9 million last year, the analyst’s note forecast.

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Benchmark estimates Toyota Motor Corp. and Hyundai Motor Co. saw the biggest gains at 1.3% and 0.6% respectively, and Nissan Motor Co. likely led decliners with a 14.8% drop.

Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. also are projected to have experienced lower sales in January, down 7.3% and 7.4% respectively.

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Many major automakers, including GM and Nissan, no longer publicly announce sales on a monthly basis, but most who do will release them on Tuesday, including Hyundai and Toyota. Ford is expected to post its January sales on Feb. 3.

First Published Date: 03 Feb 2021, 09:59 AM IST
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