By Jon LeSage, editor of Used Car Market Reports
What a great year for auto sales in 2013 – 15.6M units sold, up 7.6% from 2012, according to Autodata Corp. It’s the best year since 2007 before it all plummeted with a gasoline price spike and economic meltdown.
Auto industry executives expect gains to continue, but at a slower pace. US auto sales have rebounded, but future growth will be harder to come by, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Here are a few trends that auto analysts are watching to see how the market performs in 2014 and beyond…..
- Analysts and industry executives do see growth coming this year – up to about 16M new vehicles expected.
- Light-duty pickups and sport-utility/crossover vehicles saw a very strong year. That should continue. New pickup truck models are rolling out, which is expected to strengthen interest in the products. Gasoline prices aren’t expected to increase by very much this year, which should help light-duty truck sales.
- Incentives have been restrained and that should continue. Much of it came through very competitive lease deals in 2013. With a high volume of off-lease units coming back to remarketing channels this year, much attention will be given to how new vehicle leases will be incentivized.
- Fleet vehicle sales are also expected to be maintained at a more restrained level than was being done five-to-10 years ago.
- Chrysler Group is expected to have a solid year. Its credit rating was just raised one grade by Standard & Poor’s Corp., after Fiat SpA reached a deal to acquire the rest of the Detroit automaker.
- Consumers are willing spend more on the transaction price at $32,077 – up 1.4% from a year earlier and up 10% from 2005. Growth in luxury vehicle sales is helping that trend.
- Analysts will be watching how the market performs this year and next – if this growth continues, flattens out, or reduces. Will the pent-up demand surge be satisfied and soften? Will younger consumers buy enough cars?