WASHINGTON - The good times are expected to roll right into next year, despite rises in interest rates.
Although 2000's light new-vehicle sales won't come close to the boom of 1999, sales should top the 15.5 million units sold in 1998, said Paul Taylor, chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Taylor said he expects record new-vehicle sales of more than 16.8 million units in 1999, despite two increases in the federal funds rate.
Taylor, who gave his forecast to attendees of NADA's Washington Conference last week, pointed to huge growth in household wealth, which has doubled over the past six years, mainly from booming stock market investments and home mortgage refinancing.
'It's going to be hard to get Americans out of the car-buying mood,' Taylor said.