Mar 25, 2015

2015 U.S. Vehicle Sales Are Expected to Reach 16.9 Million

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We began 2015 recapping a strong 2014 and some of the highlights from the automotive industry. Forecasts for 2015 appear to be in line with continued growth, with 2015 U.S. vehicle sales expected to reach 16.9 million. However, there is some concern that lower fuel prices could hinder the growth of hybrid and and electric cars. Some of the things we're excited about for the upcoming years include whether or not self-driving cars will hit the roads, the improvement of "infotainment" systems in vehicles, and the continued innovation in the hybrid and electric car market.

Lower fuel prices may boost American consumer confidence, but they won't contribute to the rising sales.

IHS Automotive predicts that total global vehicle sales will reach 87.3 million, also up about 1.2%, despite falling sales in Russia and Japan,IHS director of light vehicle forecasting Henner Lehne said. China and Western Europe will join the USA with rising vehicle sales this year, IHS predicts. About 16.5 million new cars and trucks were sold in the USA last year.

IHS Automotive predicts that total global vehicle sales will reach 87.3 million, also up about 1.2%, despite falling sales in Russia and Japan,IHS director of light vehicle forecasting Henner Lehne said. China and Western Europe will join the USA with rising vehicle sales this year, IHS predicts. About 16.5 million new cars and trucks were sold in the USA last year.

"The U.S. is doing well. Economic conditions are good," Lehne said. Cheap gasoline may encourage some buyers to get a larger or less fuel efficient vehicle than they might have a year ago, however.

It takes much longer to recover the cost of fuel-saving technologies when oil is cheap. It takes 12.3 years to recover the cost of a hybrid at $2 a gallon compared to 6.1 years at $4, according to IHS figures.

Despite that, low fuel prices may not slow the move to other fuel-saving technologies, like smaller turbocharged engines and advanced transmissions, IHS powertrain forecaster Jeff Jowett said. Jowett cited the steady improvement in the fuel economy of vehicles sold in the USA over the last five years, regardless of fluctuating oil prices.

"Consumers are now starting to choose more fuel-efficient vehicles even when gas prices go down," Jowett said.

It remains to be seen how the prices of oil will fluctuate in the years ahead.

Other highlights from IHS Automotive's forecast:

  • By 2020, nearly 60% of light vehicles sold in North America will have auto-stop and direct fuel injection systems to reduce fuel consumption
  • North American vehicle production will rise steadily through at least 2022, when it will reach 19 million.
  • General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler will be the #1-3 vehicle makers in North America in 2022. Toyota, Honda, Renault-Nissan, Hyundai-Kia, Volkswagen, BMW, and Mercedes will four through 10, in that order.
  • Despite that, Fiat Chrysler's North American production will decrease as it adds production in other regions and reduces exports of Jeeps and other vehicles from North America.
  • The first real-world application of fully autonomous driving will probably be vehicles that can drop you off at the door, park themselves and return to pick you up.
  • Just 27% of consumers think automakers are designing good infotainment systems.
  • The trend among automakers is to offer buttons and dials, touch screens and voice recognition, so drivers can use whichever system they prefer.

Material from Mark Phelan at the Detroit Free Press was used in this piece.

At AWANE, we know how important the auto industry is to the world economy, and is a big driver of the economy here in the U.S. We work hard to offer different programs and products designed specifically for businesses in the automotive, roads, and fuel industry.

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