A majority of car shoppers are optimistic about the health of the economy. The economic experts, not so much.
Signs are indicating that the next recession is looming right around the corner, but 65 percent of respondents said they expected that their household would be better off financially in a year than it was currently, a recent survey by Autolist.com has found.
Sixteen percent said they expected to be worse off, and 19 percent were unsure.
This optimism was echoed by consumers’ relatively positive outlook on a possible recession.
And about that recession that many experts say is just around the corner? Consumers disagree there, as well.
Just one-third of respondents said they believed the U.S. economy would enter a recession in the next 18 months, Autolist found. Thirty-eight percent said they did not expect to enter a recession, and 29 percent were unsure.
Autolist also pointed to findings in a Duke University survey released in early December, where 49 percent of chief financial officers expected a recession in the next 12 months, while 82 percent of them said a recession was due by the end of 2020.
The auto industry, of course, hope consumers are right on this one. New-vehicle sales are expected to dip only slightly in 2019 compared to 2018. Autolist cited WardsAuto and the National Automobile Dealers Association data predicting 16.8 million new-vehicle sales in 2019, a slight decline compared to the 17.3 million vehicles sold in 2018.
These predictions were mirrored in Autolist’s survey. Sixty-four percent of consumers said now was a good time to buy a vehicle; just 12 percent said it was not and 24 percent were unsure.
The optimistic outlook of consumers was also apparent when Autolist asked car shoppers how or if they would change their next vehicle purchase, should the U.S. economy hit a recession. Thirty-two percent of consumers said it wouldn’t affect what vehicle they chose at all.
The most common behavior change was a switch from shopping for new vehicles to shopping used vehicles; then a move to a less-expensive brand and then a switch from leasing to buying.
Autolist surveyed 2,280 current car shoppers in late December 2018 and early January 2019 for the results.