Science

United States vehicle sales see dip for first time in 8 years

United States vehicle sales see dip for first time in 8 years

According to Autodata Corp, which tracks market sales, the seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of US auto and light truck sales in December dropped to 17.9 million units from 18.2 million in December 2016.

Research firm Autodata says 17.2 million vehicles were sold a year ago.

General Motors, Toyota and Ford report a 1% decline in 2017 sales compared to the previous year.

However, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, reported a fall in monthly and yearly sales, hurt by a lower demand for its Jeep and Dodge branded vehicles. It's the first time in 8 years the number has dropped. Volkswagen said its sales in the USA rose by 5 percent.

Toyota posted an 8.3% decrease in December sales, in line with analyst estimates, while Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. trailed projections with declines of 9.5% and 7%, respectively.

Record sales were also posted by nearly all luxury vehicle brands, including Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. But the influx of late-model used cars coming back on the market could also cut into sales of new vehicles. New vehicle sales in March are expected to top 1.4 million in the US, on pace for 14.6 million within the year.

Ford says, even with bitter temperatures and snow, it saw strong sales in the last 10 days of December.

I-65 closed in Jackson Co. after semi crash, explosion risk
The northbound lanes reopened to traffic around 3 p.m., and the southbound lanes opened around 9 p.m. Shortly after 11 a.m. one of the trucks caught on fire and burned for almost two hours.

Despite the usual year-end push to get vehicles out the door, most automakers endured tough sledding in December. Automakers are releasing monthly and annual sales numbers Wednesday.

Ford's overall sales increased by 0.9% in December, but the automaker, which is more and more dependent than ever on the success of its trucks and sport-utes, saw full-year sales drop 1.1% led by a 14.2% decline in auto sales.

A promising note for FCA in December was that Alfa Romeo sold 2,034 units were up significantly compared with the same month a year ago and recorded its strongest monthly sales of 2017 and actually outsold the Fiat brand.

Sales at Toyota's Lexus brand fell 13.9 percent. SUV sales fell 12% year over year in December.

Gomes does not expect sales in 2018 to surpass the past year's record, due in part to slightly softer employment growth, but said it will still be "a very good year, probably around the two-million unit mark once again". Chevrolet was offering $11,000 off a 2017 Silverado pickup last month.

Volkswagen of America Inc. reported an 18.7% drop in sales in December, in spite of strong SUV results mentioned earlier.