U.S. new-vehicle sales plunged to 10.4 million units in 2009, from 13.2
million in 2008 and 16.1 million in 2007.
Speaking at the NADA Convention & Exposition
in Orlando, Taylor reported that sales of crossover utilities and small and midsize cars improved in January compared to the
same month last year. January sales of crossovers, the only vehicle segment whose sales improved in 2010, were up about 14
percent compared to January 2009, Taylor said. Sales of midsize cars are also gaining, he said, outpacing last year's
monthly result by about 21 percent.
Hybrid vehicle sales declined in 2009 but less than
the overall industry. Toyota continues to lead the way, accounting for more than two-thirds of hybrid sales in 2009.
Developments in 2009 also had an impact on automakers' shares of the market. Taylor reported that General Motors
and Chrysler both lost market share in 2009 as they underwent bankruptcies and slowed production. Ford Motor Co. and Hyundai
improved their respective shares of the market by producing small, fuel-efficient cars and crossovers.
Slow new-car sales in 2008 and 2009 contributed to a shortage of used cars that lifted used-car prices, Taylor said.
According to data provided to NADA through a partnership with the National Auto Auction Association, the average price of
one- to five-year-old vehicles improved last year in every segment. "And strong used-car prices help new-car sales,"
Jonathan Banks, senior director of editorial and data services for NADA Used
Car Guide, reported that all used-vehicle segments posted double-digit percentage increases year-over-year in January, compared
to the low points experienced during 2009. He said that values on most segments are in line or above pre-recessionary levels.
Looking ahead, Banks said the economic fundamentals point to a strong used-car market in 2010.
"Used-vehicle supply, even with the expected million-plus increase in trade-ins, will remain relatively low,"
he said. "Economic fundamentals point to improved demand, and more constraint on new-car production should keep those
transaction prices in check. Seasonality effects are expected, but will be muted since used-vehicle prices are positioned
relatively high compared to prices during the past five years."
Banks added that gas
prices remain the "wild card" factor for the year, as some forecasters expect fuel prices to reach and top $3 per
gallon. He noted that NADA will monitor that metric and make adjustments to forecasts, if necessary.
On the Toyota situation, Banks said its values are expected to experience above-average deterioration during the
next six months and settle in at a lower premium, compared to substitute models with comparable quality. "In the short-term,
there will be a potential lift in competitive prices as dealers migrate towards other options," he added. "This
has already been witnessed in the new car side for both retail and fleet sales."
Source: National Automobile Dealers Association