NADA Senior Economist Patrick Manzi saw good reasons for the drop in U.S. new-vehicle sales in the first two months of the year. Sales fell in both January and February, with February sales down 2.5 percent from a year earlier. Harsh winter storms that kept people home, a prolonged government shutdown that offered nothing for federal contractors and delayed paychecks for federal workers, and uncertainty about tax refunds helped explain consumers’ reluctance to buy, according to Manzi.
For 2019, Manzi predicts 16.8 million new-vehicle sales. Vehicle affordability will continue to be a concern. With the large number of off-lease vehicles coming back to market, buying a nearly new vehicle will be an appealing alternative for many consumers.