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U.S. Sales Numbers Hint at Trucks’ Rising Dominance

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Feb. 6, 2018—Although new car and light truck sales fell 1.8 percent last year, there is reason for dealerships to be reasonably encouraged, noted industry analyst Jim Lang, in his latest Aftermarket iReport. That’s especially true for dealers with ample Japanese or light-truck inventory.

Lang noted that vehicle sales still reached 17.2 million last year, meaning that sales exceeded 17 million for a third consecutive year. From 2014-17, new car and light truck volume averaged 17.2 million, which surpassed the previous four-year record of 17.1 million for average annual light vehicle volume achieved from 1999-2002.

Foreign name plates made up a nearly 56 percent share of light vehicle sales in 2017, with Japanese models expanding their total car and light truck volume at the strongest rate among foreign nameplates. All told, foreign nameplates generated 76 percent of total new car and light truck annual sales growth from 2014-17.

Perhaps the most significant change in 2017 new vehicle sales, Lang noted, was the rising dominance of light trucks. Trucks comprised 63 percent of new light vehicle volume in 2017, up from 53 percent when compared to 2014. Passenger cars fell 20 percent in 2017 volume when compared to 2014.

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