Consumers, Dealers, and Manufacturers — How Every Group Contributes To a Stabilized Auto Industry

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It appears that the U.S. auto industry is finally getting some stability again, if 2014 car sales are any indication. As a recent Wall Street Journal article notes, car sales in the U.S. rose exponentially between 2013 and 2014, as consumer confidence went up and gas prices went down.

In fact, the article notes, new car sales were the highest in 2014 that they’ve been since 2006, with about 16.5 million new cars being sold throughout the past year — nearly 6% more than sales in 2013. December sales alone reached about 1.5 million, which is 11% higher than December 2013 sales.

Interestingly, 2014 didn’t seem to be the best year for car manufacturers, with so many recalls first involving General Motors’ vehicles and then spreading to nearly every car manufacturer through faulty Takata Corp. airbags. But this setback seemed minor compared to all the benefits offered with car sales — both new and used cars — like car dealership specials that include flexible financing, high trade in values for used cars, and complimentary auto service and maintenance services.

Of course, a large part of the surge in sales has been due to the fact that dealership lots have been flooded with used cars that were sold as leases, about two to three years ago, and now all of those leases have begun ending. If consumers felt hesitant to buy a new car because of the amount of manufacturer recalls, there have been plenty of used car options to choose from and financing options have been better than ever.

The WSJ does note that car sales are likely to “cool” during 2015, and experts note that a slower increase in sales numbers wouldn’t be a bad thing at all — in fact, it would likely allow the industry to stabilize a bit and would ensure that consumers are getting the best deals possible, as manufacturers continue to produce high numbers of vehicles in response to consumer demands from 2014.

Overall, analysts state that the industry is looking stronger than it has in a while, especially considering that the majority of trustworthy dealerships and car salespeople aren’t encouraging consumers to make hasty decisions or buy cars that they really can’t afford. And when consumers feel confident that their local car dealers are dedicated to helping customers make good decisions and wise investments, that consumer confidence is only going to help the industry even more for years to come.
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