2016 Gains For Dealers


After a six-year run of sales gains, it’s been looking like the U.S. auto industry passed its peak. Now some executives and analysts say there may be more room to run.

Jeff Schuster of LMC Automotive, one of the first analysts to project a contraction in 2016, says the industry may still have some pent-up demand as a stronger labor market and rising consumer confidence prompt buyers to make big purchases. Though auto sales increased a scant 0.6 percent in the first eight months of 2016 and last fall’s numbers were the highest ever, another record this year or next isn’t out of reach.

“There are buyers out there that have decided for whatever reason to not come into the market that might have otherwise,” said Schuster, who in July cut his estimate for the year to 17.4 million cars and light trucks from 17.7 million. The record set last year was 17.5 million.

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