4 Jan 18

US car sales down 2%, ending 7 year streak

US light-vehicle sales dropped 5% in December 2017 and fell 1.8% for all of 2017, ending seven continuous yearly gains that brought the market to new highs after the 2008-2009 collapse, reports Automotive News.

Annual light-vehicle sales hit a record 17.55 million in 2016. In 2017, this number slipped for the first time since 2009 while still surpassing the 17 million mark for the third year in a row and just the fifth time in history.

Car sales dropped 11% in 2017 whereas truck sales went up 4.4%, continuing a move away from cars on the North American market.

“In 2017, we had solid GDP growth and good news on employment, wages and consumer sentiment, which helped deliver very strong retail sales for the auto industry,” Mustafa Mohatarem, GM’s chief economist, said in a statement.

Average transaction prices rose 2% in 2017 to just under $36,000.

Company results

GM, Ford, Honda, Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes, Toyota, Subaru, Volvo and the VW Group saw their US market share go up while BMW, FCA, Mazda and Hyundai-Kia lost ground.

The Toyota Camry remained the top-selling car with sales of 387,081, about 10,000 more than the Honda Accord at number 2.

Ford Motor Company's good results were fuelled largely by strong truck and SUV sales while car sales plunged.

Light-truck sales also helped Toyota sales reach new highs in 2017.

GM noted a similar trend, as it is continuing efforts to decrease daily rental shipments. GM also reported record sales of electric vehicles alongside record average transaction prices.

Honda and Acura sales dropped 7% in December 2017 but still reached an annual sales record of 1,641,429 units in 2017, an increase of 0.2 percent.

Nissan and Infiniti sales both dropped around 10% in December 2017 but total yearly sales still topped at 1,593,464, a 1.9% increase compared to the previous year.

This year

Light-vehicle sales are expected to be in the high 16 million-unit range in 2018 as income gains stemming from US tax reform are negated by rising interest rates.

Authored by: Benjamin Uyttebroeck