The chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association said sales momentum for new light trucks and cars that took hold in 2012 is likely to continue for the rest of this year.
“Pent-up demand, affordable auto loans and enticing new-vehicle designs add up to a solid sales year that will outperform the overall U.S. economy,” said Paul Taylor, the trade group’s chief economist, at the NADA Convention and Expo in Orlando, which took place Friday through Monday. His comments were made available through a release from NADA.
Taylor expects more than 15.4 million new vehicles will be purchased or leased in the United States this year, an increase of 1 million vehicles over 2012, when 14.4 million new vehicles were sold.
He noted that the average light-duty truck on the road today is 10.4 years old, while the average car is 11.1 years old. The combination of older vehicles, more attractive financing and planned new-model introductions will drive demand for the rest of this year.
Other factors that will boost new vehicle sales, he said, are a shortage of used models, modest declines in unemployment, and rising home values.
Taylor also expects economic growth to rise as the year progresses.
“Early in the year, real GDP growth will be about 2.3%, with that growth approaching 3% in the last half of the year,” he said.