Analysts say U.S. auto sales are expected to remain very strong through the second half of 2015 and some are raising their estimates for year-end sales. A relatively strong economy, low unemployment and pent-up demand are driving the optimism. LMC Automotive has raised its forecast for total U.S. auto sales this year by 75,000 vehicles to a new target of 17.1 million vehicles.
The National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) has raised its forecast for 2015 auto sales to 17.17 million vehicles, an increase of 230,000 vehicles over its previous target. NADA also believes the strong second half of 2015 will continue in 2016 and predicts sales next year will reach 17.62 million vehicles.
WHEN WILL AUTO SALES PEAK?
AlixPartners, a business advisory firm, recently released its annual Global Automotive Outlook forecast and predicts that auto sales will peak in 2016 at 17.4 million vehicles, and then pull back steadily for three years until sales settle back to 15 million vehicles in 2019.
Forecasts of an impending downturn may worry some, but AlixPartners is optimistic that manufacturers learned from the severe drop in sales during the recession of 2009 and 2010, and are better positioned and more disciplined to remain profitable when sales drop.