An auto finance environment favorable to many U.S. consumers will continue to provide a tailwind for higher retail auto sales in 2014, a top Toyota executive said Tuesday.
That includes an increase in lease penetration and continuing easy credit for loans, Bob Carter, senior vice president of Automotive Operations for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., said during a speech Tuesday at the J.P. Morgan Auto Conference in New York.
Carter cited analysts forecasts for 2014 U.S. light-vehicle sales of 16 million to 16.5 million, up from 15.6 million in 2013. U.S. light-vehicle sales have advanced 5 percent this year through July.
“For instance, 400,000 more customers than last year are expected to come off leases from all brands,” Carter said. “And most will turn around and buy or lease a new vehicle.”
J.D. Power and Associates expects lease return volume of about 2.2 million cars and light trucks in 2014, up from about 1.7 million in 2013. Returning lease customers are more loyal on average to the same brand and to the same dealership than loan or cash customers.