New car and light truck sales for 2007 are expected to be near the 16.5 million of 2006, according to Paul Taylor, chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).
A strong economy and new products, such as new fuel-efficient vehicles, will help boost sales, Taylor said at the association’s Convention & Exposition in Las Vegas.
“Most signs in the economy and market point to another solid year for sales of new cars and light trucks,” said Taylor. “Any significant increase in sales will likely be restrained by steady interest rates, as well as a continued slowing of home mortgage refinancing,” he added.
According to Taylor, light trucks account for 53 percent of all light vehicle sales in 2006. Crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) rose 9.1 percent in 2006, and should rise another 8 percent in 2007.
Full-size sedans rose 1.8 percent and small cars were up 4.7 percent in 2006, due to consumer demand for new designs and higher mileage, Taylor said.
Taylor also predicts that used car sales by franchised new-car dealerships will increase for 2007.
“Continued low unemployment – averaging 4.6 to 4.8 percent in 2007 – and an average of 130,000 people per month returning to work, is creating many used-car customers and a few additional new-car customers,” Taylor added.
NADA represents nearly 20,000 new car and truck dealers with 43,000 separate franchises, both domestic and international.