DETROIT Dec 1 Hefty consumer discounts during a
robust Black Friday weekend helped boost November U.S. auto
sales between 4 percent and 5 percent, which could catapult
results this year above a record high in 2015, economists and
industry analysts said.
Major automakers in the U.S. market report sales on
Thursday, offering an early snapshot of U.S. consumer spending.
A Thomson Reuters poll of 35 economists showed expectations
of a seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate of 17.7 million
vehicles for November in the United States. A separate poll of
nine Wall Street analysts by Reuters showed expectations of 17.8
million in annualized sales.
Wall Street analysts expect Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV
to fare the poorest among major automakers,
with some forecasting a 14 percent drop from last November. FCA
restated its U.S. sales earlier this year, bumping up last
November's count by 13,000 vehicles.
Toyota Motor Corp is expected to outsell Ford Motor
Co by about 8,000 vehicles. Forecasts show Ford sales flat
to up 1 percent and Toyota's sales up 3 percent to 5 percent.
Usually, Ford is second in U.S. sales behind leader General
Motors Co, and Toyota is generally third.
GM sales are seen rising between 8 percent and 12 percent.
Incentives, or discounts on new vehicles, are at historic
highs, making some investors wonder whether the auto sales boom
will continue. Consumer discounts cut into company profits.
But major automakers say that trucks and SUVs, which have
higher profit margins, are easily outselling passenger cars,
leading to higher overall selling prices. Therefore, the
companies are keeping discipline in matching supply with demand,
major automakers have said.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)