Lang Aftermarket iReport: 2019 new vehicle sales to slip to under 17 million
“New car and light truck annual volume in the U.S. set a four-year record between 2015 and 2018, topping sales of 17 million each year.
“Lang Marketing projects 2019 car and light truck annual volume in the U.S. will slip below 16.9 million, a 3% decline from the 2015 through 2018 average. However, this will be higher than any annual sales mark between 2005 and 2014 and 62% greater than the 2009 market when the Great Recession devastated new vehicle sales.”
— Jim Lang, publisher, Lang Aftermarket iReport
2019 Sales Through May
Car and light truck sales through the first five months of 2019 were down nearly 2% compared to last year. Lang Marketing projects that 2019 annual car and light truck sales in the U.S. will slip below 16.9 million, a 3% decline from the record-high annual sales average of 17.4 million in the U.S. between 2015 and 2018.
Nameplate 2019 Sales Mix
Foreign nameplates maintained their high sales share through the first five months, capturing 55% of 2019 volume. Within the foreign nameplate sales mix, Japanese nameplates held a dominant share, accounting for 38% of light vehicle sales through May.
German nameplates ranked second, with an 8% share through May of 2019, as Korean nameplates represented 7% of car and light truck sales in the U.S. for the first five months.
Car and Light Truck Sales Mix
Light trucks continued to increase their new vehicle market share, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the new vehicle market through May 2019.
Foreign nameplates held a dominant share of passenger car sales. They accounted for over 80% of car sales through May 2019, while domestic nameplate strength was concentrated in the light truck sector.
Dramatic changes in the new vehicle market have been seen over the past 10 years in terms of annual volume, the mix of nameplates and the growing share of light truck sales.
Annual Volume: 2009 and 2019
Following the Great Recession of 2008, the new vehicle market plunged, with 2009 annual sales sinking to a low point of 10.3 million, down over 35% from two years earlier (2007).
New vehicle 2019 annual volume will be at least 62% higher than 10 years earlier, with an increase of more than 6.5 million in car and light truck sales projected for 2019 compared to the 2009 market.
Foreign Nameplates: 2009 and 2019
Within the foreign nameplate new vehicle market, Japanese models will account for a smaller portion of 2019 volume than they did 10 years earlier.
Both German and Korean nameplates will account for larger shares of 2019 annual volume than they did 10 years earlier.
Cars and Light Trucks: 2009 and 2019
Among the most significant changes in the mix of vehicle sales between 2019 and 2009 will be the dramatic increase in light truck share.
Lang Marketing estimates light trucks will account for nearly 70% of the 2019 new vehicle market, up substantially from 47% of 2009 volume.
Aftermarket Product Sales Implications
The sharp decline followed by the steady recovery of light vehicle sales to record-high annual levels (2015 to 2018) has redistributed the age mix of vehicles in operation.
The dominant sales strength of foreign nameplates has supercharged the foreign nameplate aftermarket; while the increasing share of light trucks in the new vehicle market has helped to boost aftermarket Replacement Parts and Accessories.
Six Major Takeaways
- Lang Marketing projects 2019 car and light truck annual volume will slip below 16.9 million, down 3% from the record-setting annual sales average of 17.4 million from 2015 through 2018.
- Foreign nameplates will continue to hold a dominant share of new vehicle volume, projected at 55% for 2019, helping to boost the sales growth of foreign nameplate products in the aftermarket.
- The rapid decline in new vehicle volume caused by the 2008 Recession, followed by a steady recovery in annual sales has shifted vehicles in operation toward an older age mix.
- Light trucks average a higher rate of aftermarket product volume than passenger cars. Their growth in new vehicle share will help to boost aftermarket product sales in the coming years.
- Within the foreign nameplate new vehicle market, Japanese vehicles have declined in 2019 share compared to 2009, while German and Korean nameplates have increased their shares of new vehicle volume over this 10-year span.
- Foreign nameplates will dominate younger age groups of vehicles in operation (VIO), while domestic nameplates will be concentrated in older VIO age categories.
Copyright 2019 by Lang Marketing Resources, Inc.
NOTE: Special thanks to publisher Jim Lang for granting us permission to publish the Lang Aftermarket iReport.