December To Forget? Report Forecasts Downturn In December Sales For US Automakers, Big Boost In Luxury Sales

It's almost the end of the month. That means it's time for the monthly trotting out of auto analysts for tea-leaf reading. Merrill Lynch analyst John Murphy, a guy we can always count on for doing his level best, predicts a decline of about 5% in December sales, with the majority decline coming from high-volume brands among US automakers. Murphy forecasts GM will show a 2% drop, Ford 13% and DaimlerChrysler 2%. But he sees at least one bright spot in the current US market: luxe brands. For badges like Mercedes, BMW, Lexus and Cadillac, December is usually the strongest sales month of the year, mainly because that's when i-bankers and auto research analysts receive their annual bonus checks. We half expected Murphy to close his report with a personal note letting us know whether he's decided on a BMW "Holiday Wish Event" or a Lexus "December to Remember" for the little lady. He'd better hurry up or he'll never find a big red bow in time!

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