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Have US Auto Sales Hit Their Peak?

Several key analysts dial back their forecasts.

by on Jul.12, 2016

While no one's predicting a major downturn, some analysts are dialing back their auto sales forecasts.

It wasn’t supposed to be nearly as good a ride. Coming out of the Great Recession, which saw U.S. auto sales plunge to their lowest level in more than half a century, industry planners had expected to see only a modest recovery. But consumers defied expectations and raced to showrooms in record numbers.

Now, however, the good times may be over. While no one appears ready to predict another major downturn, several key analysts are dialing back on their sales forecasts for the coming years.

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While the industry’s current, modest growth, “may go into part of next year, we’ve peaked,” said Dave Sullivan, a senior automotive analyst with the consulting firm AutoPacific, Inc. There are signs that much of the market has “already” leveled off, said Sullivan. (more…)

March Auto Sales Expected to Best in A Decade

Slower February sales help bolster results.

by on Mar.23, 2015

March sales are expected to be at their highest level in a decade due to poor weather in February.

Sales of new vehicles have picked up in March and are now expected to reach their best level in a decade, according to a new forecast from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.

“Inclement weather in February caused many consumers to delay their new-vehicle purchase until March,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power.

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Based on information collected by the Power Information Network, the combination of strong sales and high transaction prices positions March to set a new record for the month for consumer spending on new vehicles at approximately $37.7 billion, Humphrey said. (more…)

Clearing the Cliff: Automakers See Boom Ahead

Profits likely to reach record – even though sales will fall short of past highs.

by on Jan.02, 2013

Sign on the dotted line...dealers are seeing a steady increase in traffic, a trend expected to continue in 2013.

The last-minute Congressional compromise that kept the country from going off the so-called fiscal cliff is good news for the U.S. economy and great news for the auto industry, for as the old adage goes: when the economy catches cold the auto industry gets pneumonia.

The resolution in Washington sidestepped some key issues that must yet be worked out in the coming months. But barring some later hitch that generates a new crisis, most industry analysts and insiders are confident that the U.S. car market is finally back on track after its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

A new study by R.L. Polk is forecasting new vehicle registrations will reach 15.3 million in the U.S. this year and “We see it getting into the 16 million range by 2015,” Tom Libby, Polk’s lead analyst for North American forecasting, tells

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That would be a roughly 50% increase in 2013 from the bottom of the automotive market collapse during the depths of the downturn, and a 6% to 7% rise from the anticipated final sales numbers for 2012 – which are likely to reach near 14.5 million when year-end figures are reported by the industry tomorrow.


Global Auto Sales Will Continue Decline in 2009

Study shows worldwide volumes won't return to pre-crisis levels until at least 2012. Growth is in Asia.

by on May.14, 2009

The chase to catch Toyota continues through 2020?

The chase to catch number one Toyota with a global share of 12% continues through 2020.

Global light vehicle sales will decline 14.7% from 2008 levels to 55.2 million units in 2009, according to R. L. Polk & Company. The study released today also predicts that the automotive markets won’t emerge from the worldwide recession until 2012, later than previously forecast, due to worsening economic conditions.

Whether this revised forecast is an accurate prediction or just more wishful thinking remains to be seen. At stake is the profitability of all the automakers in the world, and the survival of many of them, as depressed volumes continue to generate large, unsustainable losses.

Critics have maintained that automotive forecasts — and automaker’s plans derived from them — have been unrealistically high given the massive decline in global wealth brought on by the ongoing Great Recession. As just one example, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Auto Task Force rejected GM’s restructuring plan as being too optimistic in its use of industry volumes in  the U.S. in the 12.5 million unit range that Polk is now forecasting.

Polk acknowledges such criticism. It points out that its current forecast for 2009 of 55.2 million units is 23% below the 71 million vehicles that the company predicted in mid-2008, which was prior to the start of the economic crisis in fourth quarter 2008. To be fair virtually no one  foresaw the Great Recession coming. Right now it looks like global light vehicle sales through 2015 will be more than 80 million units lower than Polk predicted in mid-year 2008.

The U.S. auto market has been flattened by this ongoing economic crisis. New vehicle sales have dropped from a high of almost 17.5 million in 2000 to 13.2 million in 2008, with a further decline to 10 million projected for 2009. Polk doesn’t forecast the U.S. market reaching the 12.5 unit level until 2012. Automakers insist that “pent-up demand” is building and sales are on the verge of a turnaround, but there is no evidence in the sales data, thus far, to support this wishful thinking.    (more…)