As a representative of franchised U.S. new-car dealerships, NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) is in a privileged position to make realistic predictions when it comes to vehicle sales.
Their latest forecast sees no fewer than 16.8 million new cars and light trucks reaching customers this year, following the 17.3 million units sold in 2018, which ended up being the fourth best sales year in U.S. history.
“We expect the sales momentum to continue this year,” stated Patrick Manzi, NADA senior economist. “The 2019 auto show season kicks off in Detroit. Dozens of new vehicles, with auto show rebates and incentives, will soon arrive in dealer showrooms across the country that will appeal to consumers and spark auto sales during the first quarter.”
In 2018, buyers have continued to abandon traditional car segments, with light trucks accounting for 69% of all sales, while regular passenger cars put up the remaining 31%. In 2017, the ratio stood at 65% in favor of light trucks, while 10 years ago, it was only 48% light trucks and 52% regular cars.
“One of the main factors for this shift has been continued low oil and gasoline prices and the fact that crossover utility vehicles are nearly as fuel efficient as their sedan counterparts. And we’ve seen fuel economy increase across the board, not just on crossovers but also traditional SUVs and pickups,” concluded Manzi.
He also said that while he expects gasoline prices to go up this year, the increase won’t be significant enough so as to cause panic and make consumers favor cars more than trucks again.