Automotive sales in the United States are expected to top 17 million units for the fifth consecutive year, though they will likely still see a slight decline from 2018.
According to The Detroit News, automotive analysts are predicting a yearly automotive sales total of 17.1 million units, down 1.3 percent from 17.3 million last year.
Many major manufacturer’s 2019 sales figures won’t be available until next week. General Motors reported sales of 2.9 million last year, down 2.3 percent from 2018. The automaker’s fourth-quarter sales were likely affected by the 40-day UAW strike, with sales slipping 6.3 percent to 735,909 units in the last three months of the year. Fiat Chrysler’s sales were down 1 percent to 2.2 million vehicles. Ford is expected to announce its 2019 sales figures on Monday.
The Detroit News‘ report cites a strong economy and increased consumer confidence for the automotive industry’s sustained strength. According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, unemployment levels are currently at a 50-year low. Housing sales also outpaced expectations by 16.9 percent in November of 2019 and have remained above 700,000 for the past fourth months.
Some analysts believe the market shows little sign of slowing down in the immediate future. According to Edmunds estimates cited by The Detroit News, low unemployment, new trade agreements with Mexico, Canada and China and a strong financial market will enable auto sales to stay flat at 17.1 million units in 2020. Cox Automotive sees sales dropping by about 400,000 units, though, predicting an economic slowdown late this year.
Automakers remain optimistic, though. In a statement released this week, FCA’s U.S. sales boss, Reid Bigland, acknowledged that some analysts have doubt the automotive industry can keep up its recent pace, but he still sees room growth.
“We have read the expectations that sales may slow a bit in 2020. However, we believe there is still plenty of demand in the market and we are ready for a new year,” he said.
GM is also looking forward to a strong 2020 buoyed by its all-new full-size SUVs and the debut even more new products.
“Our fourth-quarter stocks were leaner than we wanted, but as we get ready to launch our all-new full-size SUVs, we look forward to another solid year in 2020,” said Kurt McNeil, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales operations.
Source: The Detroit News