Auto Sales Slide in U.S. in 2019


Auto Sales Slide in U.S. in 2019
Pickup trucks on their way to a dealership. © chartphoto / Adobe Stock

Automotive sales in the United States for 2019 are expected to reach just above 17 million, down around 1 percent, according to companies that track data from U.S. automobile dealers and original equipment manufacturers. Pickup truck and SUV sales continued to thrive, they found, while passenger car sales declined.

U.S. total vehicle sales for 2019 were expected to finish about 17 million for the fifth year in a row, Cox Automotive said in a Dec. 23 news release. Daily sales averaged close to 55,000 in the United States in 2019, the company estimated.

Automotive industry portal MarkLines Data Center also estimated on Jan. 4 in its December 2019 flash report that total vehicle sales in the U.S. would reach just over 17 million units, down 1.3 percent from 2018. The company said passenger car sales would decline more than 10 percent to about 4.8 million, while light trucks – pickup trucks and SUVs – were up 2.6 percent at 12.2 million units.

Cox found that SUVs and pickup trucks remained the most popular types of passenger vehicles sold in 2019, with mid-size SUV market share rising 1 percent compared to 2018, and mid-size pickups market share increasing 0.7 percent. On the other hand, the compact car segment’s market share declined by 1.5 percent in 2019, Cox said, while the mid-sized cars and minivans categories each declined by close to 0.5 percent.

The National Automotive Dealers Association noted that light trucks continued to siphon off market share from the car segment in 2019. As of December 2019, light trucks represented 72.1 percent of all new light-vehicle sales – an increase of 2.9 percentage points compared to 2018, the association cited in a Jan. 8 news release. By the end of 2020, NADA expects the light truck segment to gain market share – topping 75 percent, compared to an anticipated car segment market share of 25 percent.

The association said that auto sales trends at the end of 2019 included efforts by OEMs to bolster sales with elevated incentive spending, a continued shift to crossovers and pickups and an increase in consumers choosing used or leased vehicles in light of affordability concerns.

Going into 2020, NADA anticipates new-vehicle sales will slide to around 16.8 million units, a 1 to 2 percent decrease from 2019.

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