Sales of new cars and light trucks in 2007 should roughly equal the 2006 volume of 16.5 million, according to Paul Taylor, chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Assn. (NADA).
“Most signs in the economy and market point to another solid year for sales of new cars and light trucks,” Taylor said during a speech at the association’s annual convention in Las Vegas. “However, any significant increase in sales will likely be restrained by steady interest rates, as well as a continued slowing of home mortgage refinancing.”
Analyzing 2006 trends, he said that light trucks made up 53% of total light vehicle sales, even as sedans showed an increase in sales. Crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) remain a key source of growth in the light truck segment, with sales rising 9.1% in 2006. Taylor expects that CUV sales will rise by another 8% in 2007.
Taylor projected used car sales by franchised new-car dealerships will likely top the 2006 total in 2007. “Continued low unemployment…is creating many used-car customers and a few additional new-car customers,” he noted.
“Dealers will look for ways to increase used-vehicle sales, and at least 100,000 additional used light vehicles are likely to sell at franchised new-vehicle dealerships this year,” Taylor added.