US Auto Sales to Drop Below 17M

Dec. 14, 2018
U.S. auto sales are expected to fall to 16.8 million units in 2019, down 1.1 percent from 17 million in 2018.

Dec. 14, 2018—U.S. auto sales are expected to drop below 17 million for the first time since 2014, reported CNBC.

Automakers are projected to sell 16.8 million passenger vehicles in 2019, a 1.1 percent decline from this year, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association's annual sales forecast released Thursday.

U.S. sales peaked at 17.6 million vehicles sold in 2016 and have been falling ever since. For 2018, car buyers mostly purchased light trucks, cross-over vehicles, pickups and SUVs. Now, with rising interest rates, dealers are growing concerned with "price creeping" that could keep some buyers out of the market, according to the report.

Average interest rates on new-vehicle financing have risen 60 to 70 basis points from 2017 through the third quarter of 2018.

The other big trend is the staggering shift from passenger cars to crossovers and truck-based vehicles that has taken place over the last several years. Automakers have been scrambling to realign portfolios around the shift. Light trucks are on track to account for 70 percent of all sales, with cars dropping to 30 percent.

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