The record auto sales in the United States are not going to be limited to 2015 levels, as some analysts are forecasting further growth for this year.

According to the Automotive News Data Center, 17,470,659 light-vehicles were sold last year, marking an increase of 5.7 percent over 2014, and surpassing the previous annual sales record set 15 years ago – in 2000 – when 17,402,486 units had been delivered. The US sales have been driven by a solid economy, full employment and credit availability, economic factors that will boost the auto market in 2016 as well. However, the projections for 2017 are seen to be flat. Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, foresees 2016 US light-vehicle sales to be between 17.5 million and 18 million units. As for 2017, he predicted a sales range of 17.3 million to 17.9 million.

Another forecast comes from Steven Szakaly, chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association, seeing sales of new vehicles this year hit 17.7 million units, which would represent a 2 percent increase over 2015’s record of 17.5 million. He also believes 2017 will mark a slightly drawback. Szakaly thinks that automakers will increase their use of incentives this year to manage the rise of production capacity and to compensate the effects of a slowing global economy, especially in emerging markets. “We are living peak auto sales right now, and we will see one more year of that growth in 2016,” Szakaly said in a statement. “But only because of rising incentives that will keep consumers coming into showrooms,” he said. “The real worry now is whether we’re starting to pull sales ahead from future years.”

Via Automotive News


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