Early reports from US auto manufacturers suggest that the industry will beat strong sales figures recorded in December 2016. With three manufacturers (~25% of market share) reported, individual OEMs are coming in ahead of analyst estimates with Ford and Audi both producing strong results. When translated to seasonally adjusted annual sales rates, the first three reports track to a sales pace of about 18.2mm SAAR. That compares with 18.3mm SAAR reported last month and economist estimates of about 17.5mm SAAR. As we get more reports throughout the day, we will update the table at right and charts below.
Update 1 9:40 AM: A bigger than expected drop for GM sales (3.8% versus the 2.4% decline forecast by analysts) led to a big swoon in our tracker. We are still showing the industry on pace to beat analyst estimates in the first month of 2017 but by a much narrower margin of +250,000 SAAR.
Update 2 10:15 AM: With over half the industry now reported, our tracker is indicating the US auto industry will miss analyst sales estimates in January, a huge shift from the big beat we were tracking an hour ago! As shown in the chart below, big sales pace declines from GM and Fiat-Chrysler contributed to the slowdown. That said, it could have been worse; while the Fiat-Chrysler sales numbers were down YoY, they were estimated to be 14% lower rather than the more digestible 11.2% decline reported.
Update 3 10:51 AM: While Mazda and Volkswagen delivered decent sales prints, both seeing double-digit YoY volume gains, Toyota announced an absolutely brutal miss with sales falling 11.3% YoY versus 2% declines expected. Now, with 75% of US auto sales market share reported, it’s very unlikely that the overall sales pace will be able to beat analyst estimates even if smaller, later-reporting companies generate large sales gains like those we’ve seen for Nissan, Audi, Mazda, and VW.
Update 4 1:57 PM: Since our last update, virtually all of the remaining market share has come in, with only Mitsubishi remaining unreported. While Subaru and Honda both reported solid months and the high end (Mercedes, Porsche) performing well, BMW and Hyundai saw middling sales while Kia reported a pretty soft result. Overall, it’s a slight positive given seasonal adjustments and we’re now tracking a bit of an improvement versus our last updated of 17.11mm SAAR. With 98% reported, auto sales should miss estimates and come in around 17.36mm to start 2017.