The analysts surveyed by Bloomberg estimate that sales of new cars and light trucks will hit 17.5 million in 2015, breaking the record of 17.4 million set in 2000. Low gas prices, available credit, rising discounts and a strengthening job market spurred far more transactions than had been anticipated when the year began.
In a November 2014 survey, analysts projected 16.7 million light-vehicle sales in 2015, but sales were nearly 800,000 vehicles above that early prediction and a sixth straight year of growing U.S. auto sales. Americans spent an estimated $570 billion on new cars and trucks in 2015, with the average transaction price increasing to more than $34,400, according to Kelley Blue Book.And some industry experts don’t think sales have peaked just yet. Kelley Blue Book’s early projection for 2016 is that 18 million vehicles will be sold.
Some analysts caution the sales pace will eventually diminish as interest rates slowly climb higher and a glut of late-model, off-lease used cars hit the market. The booming market could also cause manufacturers to increase discounts.