Through February, new light-vehicle sales were down 2.5% compared to this time last year. The monthly SAAR of 16.53 million units represented the lowest monthly SAAR since February 2015.
The crossover segment continued to make major gains, ending the month with almost 40% market share year-to-date. Sales in the first two months of the year have been held back by crippling winter storms, the federal government shutdown and uncertainty surrounding tax refunds.
Vehicle affordability will be a concern throughout the year as new-vehicle prices and borrowing costs both continue to rise. We expect many consumers will gravitate to the used-vehicle market, with dealer lots full of off-lease vehicles offering many of the same features as today’s new vehicles—but at a significant discount. We expect 2019 to end with light-vehicle sales of 16.8 million units.