2017 Auto Sales Market: Boom or Bust?

Automotive Industry Sales Forecasts

What type of auto sales market will Americans see during the new year? As 2017 rapidly approaches, many dealerships offer last-minute specials and incentives to attract customers. By making sales now, before the end of 2016, firms can boost their year-end sales figures. Consumers sometimes enjoy significant savings while searching for deals during this season of the year.

Additionally, the recent national election produced conflicting opinions about prospects for the automotive sector during the next four years. Some economic analysts have suggested a Trump Administration might enjoy a “love-hate relationship” with the auto industry. While some of his comments caused concern for U.S.-based automakers relating to international trade issues, the President-Elect has also mentioned infrastructure building proposals and environmental policies which some industry analysts believe might furnish a stimulus to transportation-related sectors. Will the domestic auto sales market enjoy a resurgence or suffer stagnation during 2017?

Year End Sales: An Important Month

Although some forecasters had predicted a challenging 2016 for the auto industry, this year’s recent sales figures offered some pleasant surprises. Despite a rash of foreign automotive parts-related recalls creating uncertainty earlier in the year, many automakers witnessed very healthy U.S. returns in 2016. Auto sales rose sharply last month, an increase of 3.7% over the same period last year. A Toyota spokesman recently expressed optimism about the outlook for sales in the U.S. during the next two to three years.

In 2015, automakers reported a record 17.47 vehicles sold during a single year in the United States. Some analysts believe the actual adjusted sales figure for 2015 verged on 18 million. The recent upturn in sales during November, 2016 raised hopes of yet another potentially record-setting year.

A Strong Domestic Sales Market

Most automakers reported strong domestic sales during 2016 compared with the previous year. Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Volkswagen all reported increased sales in the USA this November compared with last November for vehicles in non-luxury categories.

General Motors and Ford also experienced success, with both companies exceeding expectations. While Ford Chrysler Automobiles witnessed a 14% drop in sales, GM’s figures rose by 10.2% and Ford’s increased by 5.2%. FCA did witness an uptick in sales figures for its RAM pickups, however.

How Will Forecasts Impact Consumers?

Many dealerships invested heavily in new car inventories this year, so the coming weeks may witness steep competition to entice buyers before the end of the fiscal year. Recently, crossovers, SUVs and light pickup truckshave all surged in popularity, a situation some industry experts attribute to generally lower gas prices during most of 2016.

A leading analyst for LMC Automotive explained next year could witness “a boom or bust” for the automotive industry in the United States. Jeff Schuster believes the outcome will depend in great measure upon policymakers. One thing does seem clear: car purchasers seeking bargains on large vehicles, such as crossovers, SUVs and pickups, may discover some solid values during the next few weeks.

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