General Motors CEO Mary Barra provided her insights and predictions on the automotive industry in 2015 yesterday, saying a strong economy and more job opportunities should drive vehicle demand. GM expects the entire industry will sell 16.5million to 17 million vehicles in 2015, representing a flat to three percent growth rate.
“The U.S. economy and vehicle sales have been rebounding since 2009, and we believe there is still plenty of room for the auto industry to grow,” Barra told reporters Thursday in a press conference. “The strength of the labor market, better job security and the recovery in home prices have consumers feeling pretty good about the future, so we expect people will continue to replace their older cars and trucks. The recent sharp drop in fuel prices and rising incomes should only add to their confidence.”
GM expects GDP growth to create additional job opportunities in 2015, which “should drive higher labor force participation and better job prospects for recent college graduates.” The automaker believes this could lead to “the return of younger and first time buyers to the market”, which could result in increased sales of small vehicles with high fuel economy and more technology.
Chevrolet is particularly well positioned to attract new and first time buyers in 2015. GM says the mid-size Colorado and its other small cars, like the Spark, Sonic and Cruze, help bring new buyers to the brand. Sales of the Trax small SUV are expected to grow globally, with GM predicting the entire small SUV segment to expand by 80 percent in the next few years.