Sales Forecasts

Subaru & Ford top brand-loyalty rankings

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. - 

Subaru and Ford are on top of two loyalty rankings released by Experian Automotive on Tuesday, while the ranking of individual model loyalty was dominated by luxury vehicles.

According to Experian’s analysis of roughly 6.8 million household repurchases that put pen to paper between October 2014 and September 2015, Subaru and Ford ranked highest, first and second, respectively, in both brand loyalty and manufacturer loyalty.

Looking at individual models, Land Rover’s Range Rover was the model with the most repeat buyers (48.2 percent).

As an overall manufacturer, Toyota ranked third-highest in customer loyalty — but on a brand level, Mercedes-Benz was the third-highest overall in brand loyalty while also ranking first in the luxury brand rankings.

“It’s exciting to see that manufacturers’ efforts to improve owner loyalty are working,” said Brad Smith, director of automotive statistics and consulting at Experian. “Over the last few years, loyalty rates have increased, and these improvements are key to the industry. Understanding rates of consumer loyalty among vehicle brands, makes and models helps to drive better business decisions, such as a dealer selecting inventory and targeting advertising or a manufacturer making adjustments to a vehicle’s design and creating more competitive promotional strategies.”

Here are the top 10 loyalty rankings for each metric, provided by Experian:

Manufacturer Loyalty Top 10
Manufacturer Loyalty Rate (%)
Subaru 67.7
Ford 67.5
Toyota 67.3
General Motors 67.2
Fiat Chrysler 65.5
Daimler 64.9
Kia 63.2
Honda 61.3
Hyundai 61.3
Nissan 61.2
Overall Brand Loyalty Top 10
Brand Loyalty Rate (%)
Subaru 67.7
Ford 66.7
Mercedes-Benz 65.1
Toyota 63.5
Kia 63.2
Hyundai 61.3
Nissan 61.1
Chevrolet 60.7
Lexus 60.7
Honda 59.9
Luxury Brand Loyalty Top 10
Brand Loyalty Rate (%)
Mercedes-Benz 65.1
Lexus 60.7
BMW 57.4
Porsche 57.2
Lincoln 57
Audi 54.7
Land Rover 51.6
Cadillac 49.2
Infiniti 45.7
Acura 43.8
Model Loyalty Top 10
Model Loyalty Rate (%)
Land Rover Range Rover 48.2
Mercedes-Benz S Class 46.6
Lincoln MKZ 44.8
Mercedes-Benz 2500 Sprinter Van 44.8
Nissan Leaf 44
Ram 1500 42.9
Lexus RX 350 42.7
Hyundai Genesis 42.5
Kia Soul 42
Subaru Forester 41.1

Some other interesting facts found by Experian’s study include the following:

  • North Dakota is the state with the most brand-loyal customers (67.2 percent), followed by Michigan (66.4 percent) and Iowa (65.8).
  • 69 percent of lease customers stayed loyal to their brands during the timeframe of Experian’s study, followed by 56.9 percent of consumers with loans.
  • Customers who finances with manufacturer captive finance companies (Ford Credit, Toyota Financial, etc.) were more loyal (63.8 percent purchased same brand again) compared to customers with independent bank loans (58 percent).

CarStory’s top 5 most popular used vehicles

AUSTIN, Texas - 

CarStory released its monthly Used Vehicle Deal Alert on Wednesday, highlighting the best deals it’s seeing for its customers across the country.

On the reverse side, however, is something particularly useful for dealers: the top five most popular used vehicles searched for on CarStory's site.

Here’s the list, based on online searches by make and model, according to CarStory:

CarStory's Top Five Most-Popular Used Vehicles

  • Ford F-150 
  • Jeep Wrangler 
  • Ford Mustang 
  • Cadillac Escalade 
  • Audi A4

The report from CarStory outlines the best used-vehicle deals it can find around the country that are listed on its site, saying that the average savings across the country comes in at $3,039, or 17 percent per vehicle. The top three were on the Toyota Prius (in Los Angeles), the BMW 5 Series (in Phoenix) and the Mercedes-Benz C-class (also in Los Angeles).

“With so much information out there, finding the best deals on used cars can be challenging for consumers,” said Chad Bockius, the company’s chief marketing officer. “Our CarStory Deal Alerts analyze millions of pieces of pricing data to help consumers cut through the digital noise and save dollars this holiday season, while also giving them a snapshot of what other consumers are searching for.”

After L.A., Philadelphia has the second-highest average discount on used vehicles listed on CarStory.

Brand-by-brand, Mercedes-Benz vehicles are discounted in the most cities (13) according to CarStory, followed by Jeep (11), Nissan (6), Chevrolet (4) and Lexus (4).

For more information on CarStory, visit its site here.

Used depreciation down in November

McLEAN, Va. - 

Citing historical trends, NADA Used Car Guide points out that November saw an easing in used-vehicle depreciation, staying the course for the typical seasonal pattern of the industry. November’s depreciation – 1.9 percent – was noticeably lower than October’s 2.7-percent drop.

In the December edition of Guidelines, NADA UCG’s seasonally adjusted used-vehicle price index rose 1 percent compared to last month, to 123.8. Year-to-date, the index falls just 0.2 percent shy of the index’s all-time high averaged last year.

"It's normal for used-vehicle depreciation to slow during the end of the year,” Jonathan Banks, NADA UCG’s executive analyst, said in the analysis. “That said, while the slow is normal for the month, it was steeper than last November's 1-percent slide."

Diving a bit deeper, compact cars saw the biggest hit last month, falling by an industry high 2.7 percent in November, continuing its trend of dropping roughly 3 percent each month for the last seven.

While depreciation for the industry, as a whole, stood at 13.2 percent YTD at the end of November (compared to 12.7 percent for 2014), let’s take a look at all of the segments’ price drops last month, according to NADA UCG:

Change in Wholesale Used-Vehicle Prices – Oct. vs. Nov. 2015

Segment Price Drop Percentage (all values negative)
Compact Car (2.7)
Large Car

(2.3)

Subcompact Car (2.1)
Luxury Mid-Size Car (2.1)
Luxury Compact Car (2.0)
Industry Average (1.9)
Mid-Size Van (1.9)
Luxury Mid-Size Utility (1.7)
Luxury Compact Utility (1.6)
Large Pickup (1.6)
Mid-Size Utility (1.6)
Compact Utility (1.4)
Mid-Size Car (1.4)
Mid-Size Pickup (1.1)
Luxury Large Car (1.1)
Large SUV (0.8)

Year-to-date auction volume, by the end of November, stood at 3.83 million units, up 4 percent compared to the same period last year.

Looking forward, NADA UCG predicts that the prices for used vehicles aged zero to 8 years will fall roughly 1 percent in December compared to November. Zooming in to the segment level, the organization also predicts that subcompact and compact cars will drop by 1 percent, more than any other mainstream segment, while both luxury cars and utilities are expected to lose 1 to 1.5 percent in December.

January prices are expected to remain flat before increasing approximately 0.5 percent in February. 

KBB on resale values: ‘Making great cars is not sufficient'

IRVINE, Calif. - 

When it comes to a vehicle’s retained value from new to used, volume is important — but selling more of a vehicle doesn’t necessarily imply its value will stay. Even if the product is spectacular, perceived quality and new quantity sold do not go hand in hand.

This is one lesson that Subaru and Lexus have apparently learned, as both were today named by Kelley Blue Book for the latter’s 2016 Best Resale Value Award winners for best brand and best luxury brand, respectively.

Auto Remarketing chatted with Eric Ibara, KBB’s director of residual values, to see why.

“I guess the simple answer would be that they make great vehicles that people want. There are a lot of brands that make great cars,” Ibara said. “I think what we’ve learned is that making great cars is not sufficient. You also need to manage the way in which vehicles are marketed and sold. And what these brands do very well, I think, is they match their production with the market demands.

“They don’t overproduce the vehicles, and they’re also marketing the vehicles in a way that enhances the value of the vehicles. So they’re not discounting their vehicles to get more volume.”

KBB's 2016 Best Resale Value: Top 10 Cars
Chevrolet Camaro Subaru Forester
Chevrolet Colorado Subaru WRX
GMC Canyon Toyota 4Runner
GMC Sierra Toyota Tacoma
Jeep Wrangler Toyota Tundra

And if you take a look at the top-10 list of vehicles from the 2016 model year that KBB expects to retain the highest percentage of their sticker values, you probably won’t be surprised that eight out of the 10 are trucks or utility vehicles. What may surprise you, however, is that five of the vehicles expected to depreciate the least are from domestic automakers.

With four of those five being manufactured by General Motors, we asked Ibara if he was surprised.

“I think that people could be surprised by that. You don’t normally think of domestic brands when you think of vehicles that retain their value,” he said. “But I think that ever since GM went through bankruptcy they really have changed the way in which they approach the market. I sense, and I see, that they’re doing a better job of matching production to demand. They’re not overproducing vehicles and they’ve cut back on the volume of vehicles that they send into daily rental.

“I think these are all good signs but I guess, first and foremost, they’re making vehicles that are very appealing when you see the vehicles that have come to market over the last few years, like the Tahoe and like the Canyon and Colorado,” he continued. “You can see that the vehicles are much improved over what they’ve offered in the past.”

Those with a keen eye that follow KBB’s resale values will notice a first-time inclusion on the list: Tesla.

Ibara says that used-car transaction data for Tesla, up until recent times, was a bit hard to come by. But now that the situation has been rectified, as Ibara put it, KBB is noticing that Tesla’s Model S isn’t seeing as hard a hit in the used market as the rest of the electric vehicle segment is currently experiencing.

“The electric vehicle segment is very interesting,” Ibara said. “We are seeing EVs depreciate much faster than their gasoline-engine counterparts, where one exists. We think it’s a function of the federal tax credit that all these vehicles qualify for and we also think that the early adopters who are buying the electric vehicles want a new car. We don’t see a lot of early adopters gravitating toward used electric vehicles and as a result their depreciation is very steep, for the most part. The Model S is an exception to this rule.”

So what’s a “safe” segment to invest in, as a used-vehicle dealer? KBB expects for trucks and sport utility vehicles to remain popular for years to come — a trend that Ibara says started before oil prices dropped the favorable level they are today.

“We think it’s a trend that will be around for a while,” he said. “Oil is trading around $35 a barrel right now, and there’s really no sign that it’s going to end that streak any time soon. We’re thinking that consumers will continue to prefer sport utility vehicles and that will make them more desirable five years down the road.”

Here's the full list of KBB's 2016 Best Resale Value Awards by vehicle category:

KBB's 2016 Best Resale Value: By Vehicle Category
SUBCOMPACT CAR: Honda Fit PLUG-IN VEHICLE: Tesla Model S
COMPACT CAR: Subaru Impreza COMPACT SUV/CROSSOVER: Jeep Wrangler
SPORTY COMPACT CAR: Subaru WRX MID-SIZE SUV/CROSSOVER: Toyota 4Runner
MID-SIZE CAR: Subaru Legacy FULL-SIZE SUV/CROSSOVER: Chevrolet Tahoe
FULL-SIZE CAR: Toyota Avalon LUXURY COMPACT SUV/CROSSOVER: Porsche Macan
ENTRY-LEVEL LUXURY CAR: Lexus RC LUXURY MID-SIZE SUV/CROSSOVER: Lexus GX 460
LUXURY CAR: Lexus GS LUXURY FULL-SIZE SUV/CROSSOVER: Lexus LX 570
HIGH-END LUXURY CAR: Porsche Panamera HYBRID SUV/CROSSOVER: Lexus RX 450h
SPORTS CAR: Chevrolet Camaro LT MID-SIZE PICKUP TRUCK: Toyota Tacoma
HIGH PERFORMANCE CAR: Chevrolet Camaro SS FULL-SIZE PICKUP TRUCK: Toyota Tundra
HYBRID/ALTERNATIVE ENERGY CAR: Lexus ES 300h MINIVAN/VAN: Toyota Sienna

‘Strong retail demand’ keeps auction prices high

CARMEL, Ind. - 

Looking back on November’s wholesale results, the picture painted is very much similar to previous months: Average auction prices were up month-over-month but flat year-over-year. And the uptick was largely due to truck prices.

Wholesale vehicle prices in November averaged $9,883, an increase of 1.1 percent compared to October. This was 0.1 percent higher than year-ago figures.

This was reflected in ADESA Analytical Services’ monthly analysis, provided by Tom Kontos, who pointed out in his Kontos Kommentary that the “strong retail demand,” especially in the certified pre-owned area, is what is maintaining the price levels despite the increasing supply.

“In short, data and other analysts are increasingly validating comments made here for many months about inevitable price softness from growing used-vehicle supply,” Kontos said. “Also as noted repeatedly here, the major saving grace keeping prices from falling further and sooner has been strong retail demand, especially for certified pre-owned vehicles.”

Kontos also pointed out that the softer pricing conditions are hitting institutional consigners more than dealers, “who have the option of retailing vehicles and only wholesaling units for which they can obtain attractive sales prices.” He said this advantage was show via strong month-over-month and year-over-year auction performance for dealer consignors.

To that end, the results for November show that the average wholesale prices for used vehicles remarketed by manufacturers were up 3.1 percent month-over-month and 4.3 percent year-over-year — and Kontos drew attention to the fact that, “manufacturers held out for their asking prices by often selling less than 50 percent of the units offered.”

Looking at vehicles in the 3-year-old segment, which Kontos used as a proxy to represent off-lease vehicles, the prices were down 3.2 percent month-over-month in November, and 9 percent year-over-year.

Utilizing data provided by NADA, Kontos showed that used-vehicle sales by franchised dealers increased 4.1 percent year-over-year while independent dealers saw their sales increase by 5.4 percent, both of which were down month-over-month.

According to figures from Autodata, CPO sales decreased by 13.8 percent month-over-month in November and 4.7 percent on a year-over-year basis. Despite that drop, overall sales remain up 8.7 percent year-to-date.

What you can expect out of used & new sales this month

CARY, N.C. - 

Depending on whose forecast you subscribe to, new-vehicle sales this month may end up being the highest November has ever seen.

And the used-car market? Well, count on it to reach at least 2.7 million sales  and probably more, if projections from Edmunds.com and TrueCar hold firm.

Edmunds is forecasting 2.77 million used sales for the month, which would results in a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 38.5 million. A month ago, there were 3.17 million used sales, with the SAAR at 37.9 million, according to Edmunds.

Over at TrueCar, analysts forecasted that November used sales could approach 2.71 million units, beating year-ago figures by 1 percent.

On the new-car side, TrueCar is predicting 1.35 million sales (including retail and fleet), which would be good for the best November ever. That would result in a total new-car SAAR of 18.6 million, a 2015 high. A year ago, the SAAR was 17.1 million, according to TrueCar.

“This continues to be a standout year for the industry, with November sales likely setting a monthly record,” Eric Lyman, TrueCar’s vice president of industry insights, said in an analysis. “Consumers are excited about Black Friday promotions and these month-long events appear to be resonating with car buyers. Brands that advertised early, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Jeep and Ram, are expected to outperform the industry.”

The forecast put together by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive has the total new-car sales figure close to 1.3 million for November and retail near 1.1 million, even with “a couple of calendar curveballs” that impacted the sales tally.

LMC also bumped its annual forecast for total new-car sales this year from 17.3 million to 17.5 million.

“U.S. auto sales are now clearly on the path to set a record in 2015, with volume we haven’t seen in 15 years,” Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, said in an analysis. “Even with the strong possibility for the Fed to increase interest rates, growth should continue into 2016, with sales expected to reach 17.8 million units.”

For November, Kelley Blue Book has a similar forecast (1.3 million sales for the month, with a 17.8 million SAAR) and pointed out the expected boost from Black Friday, but its analysis emphasizes the incentive spending that’s going on.

“Black Friday deals on vehicles have grown in popularity in recent years, and should be a big contributor to this month’s sales results,” KBB analyst Tim Fleming said in the report.  “However, industry incentive spending has been on the rise in recent months, topping $3,000 on average since July 2015, so we are carefully watching to see whether consumer demand can sustain such high sales levels without elevated manufacturer spending.”

KBB’s report also notes the “calendar quirk” (two fewer selling days year-over-year) which it says leads to November remaining static year-ago figures. However, KBB says the 1.3 million sales it is forecasting would be the best November since 2011. Not to mention, the 17.4 million total new sales for 2015 it is projecting would be a best-ever year.

As for Edmunds, it pinpoints the November sum at more than 1.33 million, with the estimated SAAR at 18.3 million. If that happens, the company says, each would be a November record.

Again, Black Friday could be a big reason why, Edmunds director of industry analysis Jessica Caldwell explains.

“Not even a decade ago, November was a notoriously slow sales month, and it typically ranked as the third worst month for sales in the calendar year. But in recent years, car dealers have joined other retailers to embrace Black Friday as a big sales driver,” Caldwell said.

“Since 2010, November has delivered one of the three best SAARs in each year, and last year, Thanksgiving weekend accounted for twice as many sales as any other weekend in November,” she added. “We expect to see both trends continue this year.”

Used supply increases for first time since pre-recession

LOS ANGELES - 

The automotive industry has seen a dramatic year so far.

NADA chief economist Steven Szakaly highlighted what he expects will round out to 17.3 million new light vehicle sales by the end of 2015 and further forecasted a figure of 17.7 million for 2016, ushering in the “beginning of the end” for what Szakaly labeled as “pent-up demand” for light vehicles.

And that hunger for light vehicles may soon be waning for used vehicles, as well. But not quite yet.

Jonathan Banks, the vice president of valuation and analytics for NADA Used Car Guide, a division of J.D. Power, also said during today’s conference call that the used-car market has had an incredible year from the standpoint of prices and absorbing used-supply increases, now leading to a post-recession high in used-vehicle supply.

“In fact, according to NADA Used Car Guide’s data, used supply for zero to eight-year-old vehicles is up by 1.9 percent, reaching somewhere around the 17 million mark,” Banks said. “What’s important about that number is it’s the first time we’ve seen an increase in used supply since pre-recession. So it's the first time we’ve seen an increase in used supply and prices have still remained firm because of that pent up demand.”

But as more and more people are purchasing new or new-to-them vehicles, that demand is dropping – and since vehicles are not only lasting longer but finance terms are getting longer than ever, the used-vehicle pool is expected to grow considerably.

Banks expects, moving into 2016, that the pool of zero- to eight-year-old used vehicles will increase by 3.4 percent – and by another 4.5 percent in 2017.

Looking at prices so far this year, Banks also said that prices on zero- to eight-year-old vehicles have been following a fairly consistent, seasonal pace.

“What that means is we’ve seen the prices increase year-over-year in the beginning of the year – January, February and March – which is a normal, seasonal pattern,” Banks said. “We’ve been seeing prices follow a normal pattern through the spring and summer. And in the fall, when you expect to see the most vehicle depreciation, we’ve been seeing that. Except October did somewhat better than what NADA expected. And a lot of this really has to do with the strong demand from the economy improvements.”

But, like mentioned before, that demand is expected to subside – and one key reason behind that may be the predicted wave of lease returns expected over the next couple of years.

“Lease returns will play the most dramatic role in the used supply increases,” Banks said. “In fact, from 2014 to 2017, lease returns alone will grow by about 58 percent. And a lot of that volume is going to be concentrated on some segments that aren’t really the segments that traditionally have this huge amount of off-lease supply. And that would be segments like the midsize car, compact car and compact utility segments, where you see really a high amount of growth in used supply returning to the market as we move out toward 2017.”

Stay tuned to Auto Remarketing as we plan to take a further dive into the data with NADA Used Car Guide to gain a better understanding of when these off-lease vehicles are expected to return and what segments will be prevalent.

Will there be 40 million used sales this year?

CARY, N.C. - 

You can probably expect nearly 40 million used-car sales this year, according to the latest Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index report.  

Citing NADA data, Cox Automotive chief economist Tom Webb said in analysis accompanying the report that that growth in used sales has accelerated since the year’s outset. The full-year sum, he said, should “approach 40 million.”

Giving some additional context, Webb noted: “Part of this is ‘forced churn’ created by soaring new vehicle sales, but it is not churn conducted at a loss. Indeed, net profit margins are strong.”

As Auto Remarketing reported earlier, there were more than 30.7 million used sales in the first three quarters of the year, which beat last year's pace by 1.8 percent, according to NADA.  

In late October, TrueCar was predicting the industry would reach $640 billion in used-vehicle revenue this year (up from $599.7 billion a year ago) with 38.4 million used cars sold, a 3.8-percent increase over 2014.

Another solid sign is the fact that the seven publicly traded dealership groups* have gone 25 consecutive quarters with same-store retail used-unit sales increasing, Webb said. In the most recent quarter, they were up nearly 5 percent on a sales-weighted basis.

“Although the average gross margin on these sales fell to a new low during the quarter, operating efficiencies and greater throughput per store produced record used-vehicle department profits,” Webb noted.

As for the new-car side, the SAAR was above 18 million in both September and October, Webb said, with the year-to-date SAAR at 17.3 million.

“The net impact of the new vehicle environment will likely remain benign relative to used vehicle residuals for the remainder of the year; but next year’s spring market may see a smaller bounce in wholesale pricing if a leveling, or declining, SAAR spurs additional incentive activity,” Webb said.

Staff writer Josh Hyatt contributed to this report.

*Note: Webb indicates that, "For this analysis, CarMax’s fiscal quarter was shifted forward one month to correspond with the other groups that report on a calendar year."

IHS prediction: A look at cars on road in 2020

LAS VEGAS - 

In the last seven years, the average age of vehicles on the road in the U.S. increased by 15 percent to 11.5 years.

How will that rate change in the next five years? According to Mark Seng, the global aftermarket practice leader for IHS Automotive, the company’s prediction is an increase in overall average age of about 3 percent by 2020.

While that may not sound like a lot, where dealers can make strategic moves to position themselves for maximum potential profit is to look at which segments will see the biggest growth.

According to IHS, by the year 2020, the segment of vehicles aged zero to 5 years will see the biggest growth – a predicted jump of 24 percent. The volume of vehicles over 12-years-old is expected to increase by 15 percent, while the 6- to 11-year-old segment is anticipated to see a decrease of 11 percent.

If you’re not catching on already, why is this good for you? For one, those older cars will need to be worked on. Therein lies an opportunity for service of all kinds. IHS predicts that the vehicles in operation that are 16-years-old or older will number at approximately 76 million — quite the jump if you consider there were just 35 million vehicles in that age range in 2002.

Talking at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Seng says the most successful companies will be those that take advantage of the age shift.

“The aftermarket may need to begin thinking differently about the repair ‘sweet spot’ as vehicles age and consumer behaviors change. Success will require that businesses adapt to the evolution in a timely manner,” Seng said. “Nimble aftermarket organizations that embrace and prepare for the changes underway will have the greatest opportunity to succeed moving forward.”

Segment shifts more toward imports and crossovers?

Looking at U.S. light vehicle sales, IHS points out the dominance sales of compact CUVs, traditional mid-size sedans, traditional compacts and full-size pickups, which, together, made up over 58 percent of new-vehicle registrations made last year. The company anticipates that the CUV phenomenon will continue in the near term while compact and mid-size sedans will continue to maintain popularity.

Import vehicles currently represent a 27.3 percent share of vehicles in operation in the U.S. IHS expects that percentage may jump to 47 percent by 2020. Imported light trucks have seen a 10 percent jump in share since 2007, now currently representing 15.7 percent of the VIO in the U.S.

Also since 2007, the share of domestic cars has decreased by 2 percent, to 37.4 percent of vehicles in operation, while domestic light trucks represent 19.6 percent, down nearly 8 percent since 2007.

IHS also estimates that nearly 60 percent of light vehicle production will be built on global platforms, giving companies another opportunities to know what to expect and prepare in terms of parts and service.

Used-car sales expected to grow into 2016

CARY, N.C. - 

There’s a lot of chatter regarding the new-vehicle sales heading into the winter, with Kelley Blue Book’s most recent estimate at 17.4 million for the year. But dealers aren’t just concerned with the flash of new sales — they know many of those vehicles will be coming back to their lots eventually, and they want to know what to expect.

Not that the new-vehicle figure isn’t impressive, but in the first three quarters of the year, the National Automobile Dealers Association’s data reveals that more than 30.7 million used units were sold in the U.S., a 1.8-percent increase over last year’s results.

And, according to KBB’s analyst Tim Fleming, those used-sales should continue to blossom with the assistance of new sales and vehicles coming back into the used market heading into the coming years.

“We are looking for used-vehicle sales to continue to grow as we move into 2016,” Fleming said. “The new-car market is incredibly strong right now, but that growth is expected to level off in 2016 and 2017.

Meanwhile, the supply of late-model used vehicles will only increase, thanks to the booming sales growth we’ve (seen) in the past few years, much of which came from leasing. With the increasing supply boosted by more lease returns, prices should continue to ease from record highs seen a few years ago, making the used market even more attractive to consumers,” he said. More lease returns will also mean more opportunities for CPO, which remains a relatively small part of the market but which has also increased its foothold in the industry in recent years.”

Let’s break that statement down a bit. There appears to be a bit of a consensus in the industry that new-vehicle sales growth will peak in the next couple of years.

Following reports from numerous news outlets covering an event in October, where IHS Automotive made a prediction that new-vehicle sales would peak in 2017, Auto Remarketing caught back up with IHS to confirm that those values were still consistent today.

According to Chris Hopson, IHS Automotive’s manager of North American light vehicle sales forecasting, his organization is still holding to its predicted peak of 18.2 million units to be sold in 2017, before tapering off to around 17 million units by 2022. This continued influx of new vehicles bodes well for the next few years of used sales.

“What we’re seeing right now, helping to help support new-vehicle sales, could have a trickle-down effect come the next 48 months maybe to the three- or four-year outlook,” Hopson said.

Jeff Schuster, the senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, in partnership with J.D. Power’s new-vehicle retail sales report for October, provided a sales outlook, as well.

“The tenacious pace of auto sales since May, combined with the current favorable position of the U.S. economy, is increasing the level of upside potential to 2015 by 100,000 units, while nearly wiping out any downside risk,” Schuster said. “Looking forward, the forecast for 2016 is 17.6 million units, but growing economic stability and consumer confidence could easily push light-vehicle sales toward 17.8 million units next year.”

Hopson says the high uptick in lease rates will fuel those vehicles returning to the used market. Jessica Caldwell, the executive director of strategic analytics at Edmunds.com, said that 29 percent of the new vehicles purchased in October were leased, the highest percentage since March.

One thing that Hopson also says the industry needs to pay attention to are loan terms lengths, which are currently the highest the industry has ever seen. With longer loan terms and credit moving up, people tend to hold onto their vehicles longer, adding another dynamic when trying to predict used-vehicle supply possibilities. Hopson still has questions for the situation, which has no clear answer at this time.

“Is this going to be something that changes some of the dynamics of what we’ve seen historically on vehicle ownership and how it flows through the used market?” Hopson conjectured.

We’ll have to wait and see.

Curious how CPO results favored through last month? Check out Auto Remarketing Editor Joe Overby’s analysis here