DETROIT — Last year, U.S. light-vehicle sales beat analysts' expectations to finish slightly above 2017's level at 17.3 million. But for 2019, analysts and industry observers are again calling for a downturn, albeit a mild one, driven by a variety of economic factors.
Most analysts are forecasting between 16.5 million and 17 million new-vehicle sales this year. J.D. Power is projecting light-vehicle sales to finish between 16.9 million and 17 million, with retail light-vehicle sales projected between 13.6 million and 13.7 million.
Just like at the beginning of last year, a relatively strong U.S. economy belies concerns over record-high new-vehicle prices and rising interest rates. But there are other concerns heading into 2019, too, such as the impact of tariffs and the effect of tax reform.