DETROIT — Due in part to a strong economy and heightened consumer confidence, a successful year for dealers and automakers may lead to the fifth year in a row that U.S. auto sales are expected to top 17 million vehicles.
Analysts expect sales to surpass expectations at 17.1 million, a decrease from 17.3 in 2018. In quarter four, which included a strike that resulted in GM’s production being cut by 300,000 vehicles, sales of 4.3 million are expected, about a 1% decrease.
Fiat Chrysler and GM plan to release their auto sales figures on Friday, with Ford Motor Co. following Monday.
The economic uncertainty caused by the 2019 government shutdown, higher interest rates and tariffs on China’s goods resulted in slower Q1 sales of about 4 million. The second quarter saw sales at about 4.4 million, dropping only slightly in the third to 4.3 million.
"Analysts are optimistic that 2020 will bring another positive year for auto sales."
With unemployment levels at a 50-year low, strong housing-sales, and the federal reserves decision to cut the benchmark interest rate for the first time in a decade, all contributed to the uptick in sales as the year progressed.
Analysts are optimistic that 2020 will bring another positive year for auto sales. Based on better financing conditions, a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, a new trade agreement with China on the horizon, and low unemployment continuing, Edmunds estimates sales will come in at 17.1 million.
On the other hand, analysts at Cox Automotive are not as optimistic, forecasting sales potentially falling to 16.7 due to a slow start in retail spending for the fourth quarter. Consumers may be unable to carry the economy in 2020 like they did in 2019 said Cox Automotive’s chief economist Jonathan Smoke.
There has been talk of a slowdown for the past few years and although analysts have never predicted a sales collapse, at some point the demand that built up after the recession will be fulfilled and sales will decrease as a result.