SEMA eNews Vol. 12, No. 5, February 5, 2009

Auto Economist Predicts U.S. Car and Light-Truck Sales to Reach 12.7 Million in 2009

U.S. sales of new vehicles will reach 12.7 million in 2009, according to a forecast by National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Chief Economist Paul Taylor.

Taylor predicts that as the economy makes a slight rebound in the second half of this year, so will new-vehicle sales.

This is a marked improvement from the 10.3 million annual selling rate in the fourth quarter of last year, but still less than 2008’s overall 13.2 million in new-vehicle sales.

"The 12.7 million projection is encouraging, and although this is going to be a challenging year for some of the OEMs, I see positive things happening for our members in terms of new products and the opportunity to become part of the supply chain," said Bill Wolf, SEMA senior director of OEM relations.

Car sales will decrease in 22 states that will experience continuously falling home values, said Taylor. Until the housing market stabilizes, consumers will not demonstrate the confidence to purchase new cars.

Taylor’s forecast also predicts that sales of CUVs, which fell in 2008 for the first time in more than a decade, will recover as new models debut this year.

"We have a lot of members that are diversified and doing well, and I think our members are optimistic that the economy will improve in the second half of the year," said Wolf.

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