AutoPacific forecasts 17.4 million U.S. light vehicle sales in 2017
Down approximately 200,000 units from 2016 sales, AutoPacific forecasts 2017 will see 17.4 million units sold.
"We are simply seeing a plateau of demand following years of recovery after the recession," explains Ed Kim, AutoPacific Vice President of Industry Analysis.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, there were approximately 214 million licensed drivers in the United States in 2014, of which 20% were age 65 and older. Kim cites these numbers as a contributing factor to the 2017 forecast.
"Older Baby Boomers, who currently make up a significant portion of the new car buying population, are increasingly moving to fixed incomes following retirement, reducing the number of miles driven, and consequently choosing to hang on to their car longer, which removes them from the new car buying market."
Additionally, Kim notes the growing numbers of consumers, particularly younger ones, who are relying on ride sharing services for their transportation needs.
"While most consumers who use ride sharing services also own a vehicle, the need or interest in purchasing a new vehicle will likely decline in the coming years for some," says Kim.
"Furthermore, autonomous ride sharing vehicles have the potential to further challenge the traditional vehicle ownership model as they are deployed in growing numbers in the coming years.
"As their numbers grow and hailing a ride becomes even faster and cheaper, an increasing number of people may choose to subscribe to access to transportation, rather than purchase or lease a personal vehicle."
The U.S. is also in the throes of an administration change. "The impact of the Trump administration is too early to determine," says Kim.
"Shorter term, there may be some shakiness in consumer confidence, but the impact of that is likely to be minimal and relatively short, and does not impact the 2017 forecast." ■