After a record 2016, auto sales in the United States declined in 2017. This is the first time since the financial crisis that auto sales have declined from the previous-year figure. According to Autodata, in 2017, auto sales in the United States were 17.2 million, down from the prior-year figure of 17.85 million. Despite the decline, 2017 overall was a robust year for the auto industry.
Auto Sales: Uncertain Ride
In December, domestic auto companies General Motors Company (GM) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCAU) reported year-over-year sales decline, while Ford Motor Company (F) reported an increase in sales.
Major automakers project auto sales in 2018 to remain weak. Dealing with consumers’ changing preference for pickup trucks and SUVs to passenger cars, would be a challenge for automakers. At the same time, higher interest rates, despite robust growth expectation, will continue to pose challenges for automakers in 2018.
However, in the coming days, auto sales will depend not only on different conventional determinants such as the state of the economy and energy price, but also on various unprecedented factors, including the progress made in the electric and autonomous vehicle driving front.