2017 U.S. Auto Sales Forecasts Are Falling; Still Likely the Fourth-Best Year on Record

After U.S. sales of new vehicles declined 2 percent, year-over-year, through the first five months of 2017, forecasters surveyed by Bloomberg are largely in agreement. 2017 will fall well short of 2016’s record auto industry output, sliding to 17.2 million sales from more than 17.5 million in 2016.

There are nevertheless a handful of positives on which optimistic automakers can draw. First, a 17-million-unit sales year still represents a huge number of sales for manufacturers that averaged 12.5 million sales between 2008 and 2012.

Second, the high incentive spending doesn’t appear to be growing higher. Pair that with high average transaction prices and automakers can still earn big profits.

Third, if Washington ever does get around to legislating — no sure bet in this investigative congressional age — then promised tax cuts and infrastructure programs could further elevate demand.

In the meantime, there are causes for concern.

Read more
  • Kcflyer Guess we know who didn't give enough bribe money (aka campaign contributions) during the latest cycle. Got to pay to play boys and girls.
  • Ima65688420 I'll consider an EV when it can do what my ZR2 diesel can do with similar range and refuel times.
  • SCE to AUX Irony is everywhere:[list][*]The mfrs come to Washington asking for a steak, but get a burger instead. Gov't says "we gave you a meal."[/*][*]The alleged purpose behind EV subsidies is to clean up the air, but domestic content requirements means it's really an American nationalist agenda.[/*][*]Tesla lobbied against more subsidies on philosophical grounds, but got them anyway.[/*][*]Rebates on used EVs will drive up the price of used EVs.[/*][*]EV startups necessarily start with higher models, then work down-market. The new rules shut out Rivian and Lucid just as they are trying to get traction. But maybe - as with Tesla ca. 2018 - they won't lose high-dollar customers over a 'few bucks'.[/*][/list]What a mess.
  • Ajla Much like with CAFE I think the new MSRP limits should be set to a single level instead of $55K for cars and $80K for "trucks".
  • Bullnuke There was an interesting comment from the chief of a fire department made today concerning EV fires. "They're like trick birthday candles. They look like they're out and then they're on fire again.". I haven't noted a special subsidy or funding for the nation's fire departments regarding fire suppression training or equipment to combat "trick birthday candles".