Seven-year sales streak ends in 2017, but 17.2 million isn’t a problem

U.S. auto sales ended the year down from 2016 by 1.8 percent, but still strong at 17.2 million. That makes 2017 the fourth highest year on record and the third straight year of sales topping 17 million. No one disputes the strength of a seven-year sales rise.

“In 2017, we had solid GDP growth and good news on employment, wages and consumer sentiment, which helped deliver very strong retail sales for the auto industry,” said GM’s chief economist Mustafa Mohatarem.

Average transaction prices rose nearly 2 percent in December to set a record high, said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “Incentive spending was a concern in 2017, averaging 10.4 percent of MSRP, but encouragingly, this figure held relatively flat over the final quarter of the year.”

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