"We're encouraged by the strength of the market," said Jack Hollis, general manager of the Toyota Division.
Is it time to kiss the good times hello?
"There's a lot of good economic news to support an optimistic view of automotive sales this year," said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist for Cox Automotive. "Record equity markets, low unemployment, strong consumer confidence — a recipe for robust vehicle demand."
And then there's tax reform.
"Optimism for a solid 2018 seems to be growing," said Jeff Schuster, head of forecasting at LMC Automotive. "Most variables are aligned favorably, with the majority of that positive weight being carried by an expected boost in the economy. The tax cut is expected to help drive the economy toward the 3 percent growth level, which we haven't seen since 2005."
Kelley Blue Book says average transaction prices for new vehicles rose nearly 4 percent to $36,270 in January from January 2017 as the shift from cars to light trucks becomes "particularly extreme lately."
Indeed, the crossover craze is getting crazier. You thought CUVs were hot stuff in 2017? Well, almost 50,000 more of them were sold in January than in the same month a year ago. Forget pickups and SUVs, crossovers alone accounted for 39 percent of U.S. sales in January — a new monthly record.
Car sales continue to fall. Despite the new Camry and Accord, midsize sedan sales in January dipped below 100,000 units for the first time ever — while compact crossovers went over 200,000.