The first six months of 2015 saw 8.49 million vehicles sold across the United States, up 4.4% from the same period last year. This puts the industry on pace to reach 17 million units by the end of the year for the first time since 2005.
The industry faces obstacles to reaching the 17 million vehicle market, however. Average transaction prices continue to rise. Despite continued improvement in national employment numbers, wage growth remains flat. There is also the potential increase in interest rates by the Federal Reserve on the horizon, which could impact sales in the fourth quarter, as the rise trickles down to new vehicle loans and leases.
Despite the obstacles, there is also some good news for franchised new vehicle retailers. Analysts estimate that approximately 2.5 million consumers are coming off lease this year, which would make it the highest turnover in nearly six years and will help drive sales throughout the rest of 2015. Manufacturers, for the most part, have not artificially boosted sales through incentives so far this year, but there may be an increase in the second half of the year as automakers try to move segments that have been flat, such as midsize sedans.