According to General Motors Chief Economist Mustafa Mohatarem, U.S. light-vehicle sales could exceed 15.5 million in 2013, especially with aggressive use of end-of-the-year incentives.
The auto industry is outperforming the broader U.S. economy, which has an annual growth rate of 1.7% in the second quarter, according to Commerce Department figures showed last week. Growth has averaged 2.2% during the expansion that entered its fifth year in July, at a slower pace than the last four years.
“Things are very, very positive,” Mohatarem said during a presentation at the conference. “I’m hearing more concern about the fact that do we have enough cars to sell rather than do we have too many cars to sell?” “If there’s a big sales contest at the end, you’ll get above it, mathematically, it’s not going to take a whole lot to be higher than 15.5” he told reporters today, following a presentation at the Center for Automotive Research’s annual Management Briefing Seminars near Traverse City, Michigan.
U.S. car and light truck sales climbed 14 percent in July to 1.32 million and the annualized industry sales rate, adjusted for seasonal trends, was 15.8 million, accelerating from 14.2 million a year earlier. This would be the best year for the auto market since 2007’s record 16.1 million vehicles.