October U.S. auto sales expected to rise
(autoinsidernews) - According to analysts, U.S. auto sales are expected to be stronger this October than they were last year, but not enough to clear inventories of unsold 2006 models. Chrysler Group has the largest problem of unsold 2006 inventory, which ended September with 533,220 unsold vehicles, an 82 day supply on its dealer lots. Despite being down 7 percent from last year, inventory levels are still higher than those at GM, with a 76 day supply, and Ford, which had 74 days of inventory, reports Trend.
Analysts said lower gasoline prices during the month have likely helped General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler Group move more of their pricier and higher profit pickups and SUVs, which have seen soft sales for most of the year.
Goldman Sachs analyst Robert Barry is forecasting overall sales of an annualized rate of 16.4 million units, up from 14.8 million for October 2005. Barry forecasts a 26 percent increase for GM, a modest increase because of last year's 23 percent sales decline. He also expects Ford to post a 14 percent gain, which he considers weak given last year's 23 percent drop. The Chrysler Group is forecast to end October with the weakest relative sales, with forecasts between a 3 percent drop and a 6 percent gain.
Bear Stearns analyst Peter Nesvold is forecasting an 18 percent gain for GM and a 10 percent rise for Ford.