It will be a slow but steady climb back.
U.S. light-vehicle sales are projected to fall below the 16 million mark this year, after last year's second-best mark of 17.2 million. But sales will top 16 million again in 2003 and rise gradually each year, to 16.9 million in 2006.
So says J.D. Power and Associates. Power's projections will be included in the North American sales history and forecast portion of the 2002 Automotive News Market Data Book, to be published May 27.
The projections also see increases in Canada and Mexico sales. In Mexico, sales are expected to increase each year and reach 1.1 million in 2006. In Canada, the outlook is for decreases this year and next before three years of increases bring 2006 volume to 1.59 million. A separate section on North American vehicle production projects a steady rise in output from last year's 15.9 million to 17.3 million in 2006. But all of the increase is expected to take place in the United States. Output in Canada and Mexico is projected to fall between 2001 and 2006.
The Market Data Book is distributed to all Automotive News subscribers. Single copies may be ordered for $19.95.
A detailed version of the Market Data Book will be available online on Monday, May 27. Access to the online version, at autonewsdatacenter.com, is limited to subscribers.