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Chart 1 (St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank,

Chart 1 (St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank,

Buyers took advantage of low interest rates and “Black Friday” promotions to purchase 1.3 million new light vehicles in November, a 4.6% gain from a year ago.[i] On a seasonally adjusted annual basis, the 17.2 million vehicles were the highest in a decade.

Lower gas prices incentivized the purchase of new trucks and sport utility vehicles, which were up 8.8% from a year earlier, compared to zero growth for new cars. “Continued improvements in employment, home prices, and confidence levels among consumers, along with moderating fuel prices, should sustain auto industry momentum in 2015,” said Chris Hopson of IHS Automotive.

In Utah, a first quarter 2014 sales grew 7.1% at $1.26 billion, was followed by a second quarter increase of 5.6%.  (In 2013, Utah consumers bought $5.13 billion of new cars and trucks, up 13.4% from 2012).  Third quarter sales volume is not out yet, but unit sales of 25,950 were up 2% from a year ago according to the Tax Commission. [ii] Dollar sales volume was up 6.1% in July and 5.1% in August.  We are predicting a 4-6% dollar gain in 2015 as double-digit growth ebbs now as pent-up demand from the recession has been satisfied.

Chart 2

Chart 2

[i]  The New York Times

[ii] Economic and Statistical Unit, Utah State Tax Commission

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