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NADA sees low gas prices driving light truck sales in US

As reported in Tire Business, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) projects that new car and light truck sales in the United States will rise to 16.9 million vehicles in 2015, split 44% for cars and 56% for light trucks and SUVs. NADA pointed to low gas prices, low interest rates, increased job growth, and an improving housing market as being the main drivers for vehicles sales and in particular a shift toward larger vehicles such as light trucks and SUVs. The group also said that its forecast for 2014 of 16.4 million new vehicle sales was on target.

“We expect to see significant growth in sales of light trucks, particularly in the large-size CUV and SUV segments,”said NADA Chief Economist Steven Szakaly at a Jan. 23 press briefing during the NADA Convention & Expo in San Francisco.  “At the end of the day, consumers like the utility and comfort that larger vehicles provide. Lower gasoline prices accelerate that shift.”

“The pickup truck segment, in particular, is expected to benefit from an improving housing market, climbing to a 15.2-percent share this year from 13.7 percent in 2014, NADA said. On the downside, small and midsized cars are likely to face a tougher market in 2015. Mr. Szakaly said he expects incentives to rise on small and midsize vehicles while hybrid sales are expected to be slower as long as the price of oil remains relatively low. Midsize cars are expected to decline in share of total light vehicle sales to 17 percent from 18.6 percent, while small cars are expected to lose 1 percent of share.
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