Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Putting the Brakes on Car Sales

Sales at all six of the biggest automakers in the U.S. dropped again in April, with Ford and Honda Motor posting the steepest declines -- about 7 percent each. Five of the six biggest companies — General Motors, Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Honda and Nissan — all reported sales falling faster than analysts had forecast. Only Toyota posted monthly sales that were better than expected, but they too were down.

U.S. car sales are expected to fall this year after rising to a record of 17.55 million in 2016, up from 17.5 million in 2015. The annualized pace of U.S. auto sales slowed to 16.9 million in April. A year ago, the rate was 17.4 million.

Industrywide deliveries are down 2.4 percent so far this year compared to the same period last year. The four-month slump reinforces the sense among many that this year will hold the U.S. auto market’s first annual contraction since 2009, the year GM and Chrysler reorganized in bankruptcy court.

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