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[DETROIT] The US auto industry looks set to remain on course for another record year in 2016, even if new vehicle sales in May reported later on Wednesday fall as much as expected, analysts and economists said.
Forty economists polled by Thomson Reuters expect on average a seasonally adjusted selling rate of 17.3 million vehicles for May, not greatly changed from April but down from 17.8 million a year earlier.
Most analysts expect a year-on-year drop in sales, in large part because of two fewer selling days and one less weekend this past month.
Edmunds.com said sales would be down 5.8 per cent from a year earlier, while fellow industry consultancy TrueCar estimated a 4 per cent decline.
All but one of the top-for selling automakers in the US market are expected to report lower sales.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sales were seen unchanged by Edmunds and rising 1.2 per cent by TrueCar.
General Motors Co sales were seen dropping 13 per cent by Edmunds and 8 per cent by TrueCar. Ford Motor Co sales were seen down 3 per cent by Edmunds and 5 per cent by TrueCar. Toyota Motor Corp sales were forecast to fall 9 per cent by Edmunds and 8 percent by TrueCar.
Consultancies JD Power and LMC Automotive collectively last month lowered their forecast for 2016 auto sales to 17.7 million vehicles from 17.8 million.
In 2015, vehicle sales were a record 17.47 million vehicles, according to Autodata Corp.