And poll of 35 economists polled by Thomson Reuters showed that they expect on average an annualized selling rate for December of 16.9 million new vehicles, the highest for the month since before the 2008-2009 industry downturn.
Automakers are reporting December sales on Monday. Chrysler and General Motors saw sales for the month rise nearly 20 per cent — GM’s numbers were a surprise, better than expected, while Chrysler’s were a mild disappointment but nothing awful.
Nissan Motor Co’s December U.S. sales narrowly topped and Honda Motor Co. sales fell short of expectations as the Japanese companies led off what is expected to be strong sales figures for major automakers in the U.S. market on Monday.
Nissan on Monday said its U.S. sales rose 7 per cent, and that 2014 sales of 1.39 million vehicles were a company record.
However, while Honda’s U.S. sales rose 1.5 per cent, that was well short of analysts’ expectations.
A Reuters poll of 11 analysts showed expectations of a 10.5 per cent gain for all U.S. new-vehicle sales over last December.
Low gasoline prices helped boost pickup truck and large SUV sales in the month, analysts said.
Auto sales have been a big story in 2014, as the industry has recovered to pre-recession levels and the U.S. market has asserted itself as the world’s most important.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall Editing W. Simon)
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