2016 is on track to be another banner year for the auto industry. But dealers won’t ring up quite as many sales this year as they did in 2015, which set an all-time record. And 2017 figures to see another small sales pull-back as demand for new cars and trucks levels off.
The Rebound Winds Down
The U.S. auto industry has come a long way from the dark days of the Great Recession. In 2009, drivers bought only 10.4 million new vehicles, down by roughly a third from what had been considered normal prior to the recession. But that sharp decline set the stage for an epic comeback. Beginning in 2010, the industry consistently notched annual sales gains of 10% or so. Many consumers who had wanted or needed a new car during the economic downturn put off buying one, which resulted in a marked aging of the country’s car fleet. The recovery from the recession released a surge in new car buying by folks rushing to replace their old rides.