Annual Auto Sales Won't Return to Pre-Recession Levels Until after 2015, Says

Annual Auto Sales Won't Return to Pre-Recession Levels Until after 2015, Says

Annual Auto Sales Won't Return to Pre-Recession Levels Until after 2015, Says

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — June 1, 2011 — The auto industry will continue on a steady pace of recovery, but sales won't return to pre-recession levels before 2016, according to a new five-year forecast of U.S. automotive sales published by, the premier online resource for automotive information. anticipates new car sales will climb to 15.85 million in 2015, falling short of the benchmark of 16.1 million sales in 2007, the last full year before the U.S. economy fell into a recession. On average, 11.7 million cars have been sold in the U.S. in each of the last three years, and Edmunds predicts 2011 sales will reach 12.9 million. Auto Sales Forecast, 2011 to 2015
Year Projected Sales
2011 12.9 million
2012 13.9 million
2013 14.65 million
2014 15.25 million
2015 15.85 million

"In the past six to eight months, an increasing number of signs suggest that economic fundamentals are improving, and these factors are contributing to rising auto sales momentum," said Dr. Lacey Plache, chief economist at "We expect this momentum to continue, but at a moderate pace, given the fundamental steps that are still needed for a full economic recovery. For example, at the current rate of roughly 250,000 jobs added per month, it will take nearly two and a half years to recover the 7 million jobs needed to reach pre-recession employment levels, which do not include jobs needed to accommodate population growth."

In addition to unemployment, Dr. Plache noted that other economic factors are keeping auto sales from recovering as fast as they fell. Those factors include the continuing housing crisis and tighter lending standards. As a result, consumers are holding on to vehicles longer and average vehicle age is increasing.

Just last week, reported that supply disruptions stemming from the March earthquakes in Japan led to a decline in May 2011 auto sales. But Japanese automakers are reporting accelerated improvements in production, and any effect on U.S. auto sales will not likely linger much past the summer. Still, CEO Jeremy Anwyl says that U.S. automakers have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to boost their reputations and cut into their Japanese competitors' market shares.

For a full analysis on the direction of the automotive industry, please read's five-year forecast at

Dr. Plache also spells out the driving forces influencing this year's automotive market at

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About Edmunds (

Edmunds publishes Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders., the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site and hosts the most established automotive community online. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow on Twitter@edmunds and fan on Facebook at

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