Boosted by rising employment, home values and housing construction, Americans will buy 16.4 million new cars and light trucks this year.
That’s the prediction from the National Automobile Dealers Association, which is meeting in New Orleans.
Economist Steve Szakaly says the 5.8 percent expected increase will mark the sixth year of recovery from the financial crash and automotive bankruptcies.
Jonathan Banks, analyst for the group’s Used Car Guide, says those years of new-car buying and leasing will push prices down for recent-model used cars and trucks, averaging 2.5 percent less than last year’s prices. He says 5- to 8-year-old vehicles remain scarce, because few people bought cars during the recession. Those prices are likely to be flat.
He says used-car prices are likely to be slightly lower than last year’s.