Light-vehicle sales in October should be slightly below the red-hot pace so far this year, but 1999 still will be one for the record books, analysts said.
The seasonally adjusted annual selling rate for October should be around 16.7 million light vehicles, compared with 17.2 million in September and 17.8 million in August, said David Healy, an auto industry analyst for Burnham Securities Inc. in New York.
Healy's forecast assumes 1 percent higher light-vehicle sales for General Motors vs. October 1998, 5 percent lower for Ford Motor Co. and 3 percent lower for DaimlerChrysler.
Those figures include only North American-built veh icles. Healy expects record sales of about 16.8 million light vehicles for the full year.
Scott Merlis, an analyst with Wasserstein & Perella Co. in New York, said he expected a slightly lower annual rate for October, about 16.3 million light vehicles.
'When you look at all the earnings releases, the common theme is incentives going down, which means net pricing is going up,' Merlis said. 'You would think that that would cool demand a tiny bit. And hi gher pricing in the long run is actually sort of a negative for automakers, since that raises inflation, and that could mean higher interest rates.'
Most automakers - including GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler - are expected to report U.S. sales by the end of Tuesday, Nov. 2.