(NBC) – Whatever worries analysts may have about America’s economy cooling off, auto dealers are not seeing it showrooms. December sales did drop compared to the same month in 2017, but overall, business was robust, with sales climbing slightly higher in 2018, topping 17 million vehicles for a fourth straight year, that’s never happened before.
Will it continue?
There are mixed signals. The jobs market and consumer confidence remain strong and relatively cheap gas means Americans have more money in their pockets. They are also taking out larger and longer-term auto loans.
That’s because they’re paying more than ever for a new model, so there’s a concern consumers may be at their limit, especially with a wave of three and four year old models coming off lease.
That gives buyers the option of paying far less for a car or truck with low miles and most of the latest technology.
Say Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley, “The worry is this industry for 2019 for the first time in a decade, doesn’t grow.”
One thing is not expected to change for automakers this year. Trucks, SUVs and crossovers are the models in demand, as Americans continue to move away from buying small cars and sedans.