• January 21, 2018
    Last updated 2 minutes ago

automotives

New car demand remains strong in US

Though sales are likely to fall short of 2016’s record, 2017 is still expected to be the fourth-best sales year in US history

AP
19:10 January 3, 2018

DETROIT

The US auto industry’s historic growth streak may be ending, but demand for new cars and trucks remains healthy as the new year begins.

US sales of new vehicles are expected to fall 2 per cent to 17.1 million in 2017, according to Kelley Blue Book. That would be the first year-over-year decline since 2009, ending an unprecedented seven-year expansion.

General Motors and Ford both reported a 1 per cent decline in sales last year compared with 2016. Automakers are releasing monthly and annual sales numbers Wednesday.

While sales are likely to fall short of 2016’s record of 17.55 million, 2017 is still expected to be the fourth-best sales year in US history. Low unemployment and rising consumer confidence are expected to boost demand this year.

The option of leasing also will bring millions of people back to the market. Four million vehicles were leased in 2015, according to Edmunds.com, and many of those customers will be trading in their vehicles for new ones. But the influx of late-model used cars coming back on the market could also cut into sales of new vehicles.

Here are more details of December and 2017 sales:

Winners and losers

Ford’s F-series pickup truck remained the best-selling vehicle in the US in 2017, a title it has now held for 36 years. Ford sold 896,764 F-Series trucks in the US last year, or nearly two trucks every minute. F-series sales rose 9 per cent for the year, in part because of post-hurricane demand in Texas and Florida.

Luxury crown

Mercedes-Benz dethroned BMW as the best-selling luxury brand in the US in 2016, and it’s likely to hold on to that title in 2017. Through November, Mercedes had sold 332,990 vehicles” BMW was far behind, battling it out with Lexus for second place. Hyundai Motor Co.’s luxury Genesis brand was one of the biggest climbers in that market, with sales more than tripling over the previous year.