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New vehicle sales in the U.S. are falling

Jack Stewart Jul 3, 2019
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A row of new Ford trucks at a Ford dealership in Colma, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

New car and truck sales in the United States are expected to drop below 17 million vehicles this year for the first time since 2014. 

Michelle Krebs, an analyst at Autotrader, said during the Great Recession people put car purchases on hold and the market has been playing catch up since then.

“This has been an unprecedented expansion, and we knew it had to end at some point,” she said. “The pent up demand from the Great Recession has been pretty much sopped up.” 

While mortgage interest rates might be low, auto loan rates are relatively high at the moment.

That makes the bigger, more expensive crossovers and SUVs, which people want, even less affordable.

Used car sales, on the flip side, are seeing a bump, said auto analyst Rebecca Lindland at rebeccadrives.com, and because of those strong recent sales and leases, which are now being turned in, there are plenty of options.

“You can have a really, really nice 2014 or 2015 model year vehicle, and it’s two-thirds of the price of a new car,” she said. 

Bucking trends, as usual, Tesla reported a record quarter, selling 95,000 cars in the last three months.

But the road ahead is likely to be bumpy for the whole auto industry and its global supply chain as fears loom over tariffs and trade wars.

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