Four months into 2017, U.S. new-vehicle sales have declined four consecutive times. The auto industry's longest growth streak in a century looks to be finished, seven years after it started.
But with the stock markets rising and unemployment low, automakers and dealers are entering the downside of the cycle without the widespread fear and panic that consumed the business a decade ago.
"We've had some pretty big years," said Jack Fitzgerald, who owns Fitzgerald Auto Malls dealerships in Florida, Maryland and Pennsylvania. "I don't think that the industry's in trouble or business is going to go down the drain. It ebbs and flows."
Year to date, sales have ebbed 2.4 percent from the record pace of 2016. Fewer fleet deliveries accounts for the majority of the decline, with retail sales down only 1 percent.