NADA: New Light Vehicle Sales to Rise in 2016

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (August 4, 2015) - Sales of new cars and light trucks will continue their post-recession climb, reaching an all-time high of 17.46 million vehicles in 2016, said Steven Szakaly, chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Szakaly provided his forecast for new- and used-vehicle sales through 2019 at the Center for Automotive Research's Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich., on Tuesday. He predicts new-vehicle sales of 16.65 million units in 2017. He also outlined some of the long-term car buying challenges facing new-car dealerships.

“Employment is doing very well, which is critical to new- and used-car sales, and we expect gasoline prices to continue to remain low,” Szakaly said.

NADA forecasts that new-car dealerships will retail a total of 31.77 million new and used vehicles in 2015, an increase of 3.3 percent from 2014. (That figure includes 17.17 million new vehicles and 14.6 used vehicles retailed by new-car dealerships in 2015.)

Szakaly also provided insight into the generational shift in car buying demographics, which he said “could present challenges to long-term growth in auto retailing.”

“It will take four Millennials to replace the spending power of one Baby Boomer in the automotive-retailing marketplace,” Szakaly explained. “There's also a wage gap between Baby Boomers and Millennials, and stagnating wages for Millennials, along with increasing vehicle-transaction prices, will pose challenges in the long run.”