USA: Sales a mixed bag for automakers in November


by Nick Carey

DETROIT (Reuters) – major automakers on Friday announced sales mixed in November in the United States and they provide for a competition in December to show good performance on the year as a whole.

They are seeking to sell their models by 2017, offering significant discounts to their customers in the approach of 2018. In 2016, the sector has sold to 17.55 million new vehicles, a new record.

The figures for the month of November are published so that the american Association of automotive dealers said on Friday to capitalize on a decline in sales of new vehicles in the United States next year, to 16.7 million, while it expects a first decrease to 17.1 million, for the whole of 2017.

If this forecast is confirmed, the race to the workdown of inventories of the dealers should still be intensified.

Brandon Mason, a sector specialist at PwC, said that one of the trends considered of concern for the sector was the increasing number of high-risk loans. He said that the levels of loans “sub-prime” accounted for a little over 20% of emissions, compared to over 30% before the crisis, but that the tendency to the increase of this share of the concern.

“It is a kind of red flag,” he said. “It is something to watch out for in the approach of the year 2018.”

Sales of General Motors (N:GM) were down 2.9% last month, with a stability of sales to individuals. A good part of the decline is due to lower sales to rental agencies, businesses, and federal agencies.

A sustained level of sales of SUV and crossovers helped GM increase its average selling price of 37,000 dollars (31.200 euros) on the month. The level of unsold goods, a topic of concern for the analysts and professionals of the sector, has increased slightly, to 83 days of supply, compared to 80 at the end of October.


“We sell more cars in December than any other month of the year and we are very well placed thanks to our positive dynamic in many market segments, but especially on the crossovers,” said Kurt McNeil, vice president of sales, US.

Fleet sales are low-profit.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) (MI:FCHA), in particular, has driven a significant decline in this type of sales in 2017.

The constructor italo-american was accused in an overall decrease of 4% of its sales in November with a fall of 25% of fleet sales and a 2% increase in sales to individuals.

Ford , the second american manufacturer, has announced an increase of 6.7% in sales in November, with an increase of nearly 26% of its fleet sales and an increase of 1.3% of its sales to individuals compared to November 2016.

The sales of SUV’s from Ford have increased 13.3% last month, while sales of pick-ups have advanced by 4.1%.

“November and December have become since few years a commercial storefront that is very important for the sector,” said the sales manager of Ford in the United States, Mark LaNeve, at the press during a conference call.

He expects a continuation of the price war in 2018, but believes that”it should not be too disturbing”.

Toyota (T:7203) announced sales down 3%, while that of Honda have increased 8.3%.

For its part, Volkswagen (DE:VOWG_p) has reported a sales decline of 1.6%.

In a press release, Nissan said that it would not be able to publish its figures on the month of November prior to the December 4, due to a system failure, but has estimated that its sales in the United States should have increased 14% compared to the same period in 2016.

Around 18: 00 GMT on Wall Street, the title GM was down 1% and the action of the FCA, which lost 2%, while Ford was snacking 0.28 per cent.

(Juliette Rouillon for French service, edited by Bertrand Boucey)

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