ARLINGTON, Va.—Total vehicle sales decreased to a rate of 17.2 million annualized units in June, and NAFCU Chief Economist and Vice President of Research Curt Long said he expects auto sales will remain steady for the remainder of 2019.
"More cost-conscious consumers are increasingly turning to leases and used vehicles," said Long in a NAFCU Macro Data Flash report. "A Fed rate cut would help, but at this point in the business cycle, all the pent-up demand has been exhausted. NAFCU expects auto sales to remain on their current path in 2019 before falling in 2020."
Car sales increased from 5.0 million annualized units to 5.1 million annualized units during the month. Sales of light trucks fell from 12.4 million annualized units to 12.1 million annualized units.
Long noted that despite rising gas prices, "consumers strongly prefer SUVs to cars … that has driven up average transaction costs, which J.D. Power estimated at over $33,300 in the first half of the year." According to recent survey data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 12.4% of households applied for a car loan within the past 12 months, down from 16.8% a year prior.