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.
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.
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.
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.