Austin-area auto dealerships are carrying over their strong momentum from last year, according to the Freeman Auto Report.
The Austin American-Statesman reported Central Texas new vehicle sales rose by 6.7 in January 2018 compared to January 2017. The Freeman Auto Report, based in Dallas, tracks auto sales in Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties.
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Freeman reports Austin-area dealers sold 10,546 new cars in January 2018, compared to 9,886 in January 2017.
Despite Central Texas’s strong showing, the U.S. auto market as a whole has trended downward since 2016, when American dealers sold 17.5 million new vehicles. In 2017 dealers sold 17.2 million new vehicles, with 134,104 of those coming from Austin-area new vehicle sales.
Local sales slowed throughout the middle of 2017, but Freeman’s data shows they managed to close roughly 3 percent higher overall than in 2016 even with December sales being down.
Austin American-Statesman writer Sebastian Herrera said analysts predicted a slowdown after the market hit peak demand from 2010 to 2016. The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) said they expect new vehicle sales in 2018 to reach 16.7 million.
The area’s booming economy drives new vehicle demand, Herrera wrote.
“As recently as last year, the Austin area was still seeing new car dealerships opening up locally, such as the new Nissan dealership in Cedar Park,” he said.
NADA chairman Mark Scarpelli issued a statement saying 16 million in U.S. new vehicle sales would indicate an overall healthy market.
“Automakers are continuing to meet that demand with a fantastic mix of vehicles that really do suit the needs, desires and budgets of our customers, so the inventories that we’re carrying in our showrooms are aligning very well with what our customers are looking for,” Scarpelli said. “That’s half the battle right there. So this is a very positive forecast.”
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