US: 2015 new car sales forecasted at 16.9 million units image

The strong recovery seen both in the US auto industry and the country’s overall economy is expected to continue, with forecasters seeing total vehicle sales rising 1.2 % from the 2014 figure.

Total new car and light truck deliveries this year will grow 1.2 percent to a tally of 16.9 million autos, forecasts research firm IHS Automotive. A small portion of the growth is expected to come from the continuous low fuel prices, as the vehicle gains brought by the cheaper fuel will be offset by the slowing sales of hybrid and electric cars. On a larger scale, total vehicle sales worldwide are seen at 87.3 million units, rising another 1.2 percent, even as dwindling sales in certain regions – such as Russia or Japan – will have a strong impact on the overall figure, commented HS director of light vehicle forecasting Henner Lehne. China and the Western Europe are expected to also grow alongside the US in 2015, forecasts IHS, after last year in the US – the second largest global auto market – around 16.7 million new cars and trucks were delivered.

With the low fuel prices boosting consumer confidence alongside the rising economic situation, US buyers are increasingly shunning hybrids, electrics and other high mileage options. With cheap gasoline, recovering the cost of technologies associated with fuel-saving vehicles are far tougher to recuperate: IHS data shows that a typical hybrid will need a 12.3 years recovery period if the gasoline is $2 a gallon, while it would only take 6.1 years if the gasoline was priced double.