Many automotive forecasters agree that the end is nigh for record vehicle sales. This year will likely mark the first time since 2009 that auto sales will fall instead of grow. Final numbers won’t be available until next month, but early figures peg the figure at around 17.2 million cars sold in the United States, which is down about 2 percent from 2016.
Next year, things will likely continue on the downward trend. Automotive News reported last Saturday that annual vehicle sales will likely fall below the 17 million mark in 2018. That’s a major shift from what automakers have been accustomed to. It will also shift how automakers market new vehicles and how generous incentives may be.
Thus far, the slow sales decline hasn’t worried automakers like General Motors because transaction prices have risen to create higher profit margins. GM still sees a steady market for new cars and not a sharp decrease. Industry analyst Jessica Caldwell of Edmunds made her predictions as well.
“That period of growth that we had grown accustomed to is obviously over, and the industry is starting to rightsize,” she said. “We could see a fight for market share. They’re looking to keep their share, and if one company starts increasing their incentives, generally others follow.”
Right now, analysts project 16.7 to 16.8 million new cars sold in 2018, though that figure could fluctuate due to increased take-home pay with the inbound Trump tax cut legislation.
Next year will be an important one for GM. The automaker will roll out the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and 2019 GMC Sierra, and both play an integral part in the automaker’s healthy bottom line. The pickups also help finance mobility and self-driving car programs.