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

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


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

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 Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information.

Edmunds.com 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.

Edmunds.com 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 Edmunds.com. "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, Edmunds.com 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, Edmunds.com 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 Edmunds.com's five-year forecast at http://www.autoobserver.com/2011/05/16m-sales-years-beyond-2015-edmunds-forecasts.html

Dr. Plache also spells out the driving forces influencing this year's automotive market at http://www.autoobserver.com/2011/05/top-factors-driving-2011-auto-sales.html

For updates on automotive industry news and analysis, please register to receive the AutoObserver.com newsletter at http://www.edmunds.com/newsletter.

About Edmunds.com, Inc. (http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/index.html)

Edmunds.com Inc. publishes Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, 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 www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.

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