Despite gas prices falling to their lowest levels since 2010, fuel economy – for a fourth consecutive yea – remains the most influential factor among the majority of new-vehicle buyers in determining which vehicle they select, according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Avoider StudySM.
New-vehicle retail sales in January are expected to reach the highest levels for the month in a decade, both overall and on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) basis, according to a monthly sales forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.
“The year is off to a great start with exceptional growth in retail sales,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power.
“The sales momentum seen throughout 2014 is continuing into 2015 and, unlike last year, inclement weather has not slowed vehicle sales thus far. With an additional weekend in January this year, the industry is on a trajectory to post the second-largest year-over-year retail sales growth in the past 17 months,” stated Humphrey.
Humphrey also mentioned that with the continuation of low gas prices, consumers are purchasing more trucks. So far in January, trucks, vans and SUVs account for 55.4 percent of sales, the highest level for a January since 2004.
The falling prices at the pump are a product of global oil prices tumbling to multi-year lows. While gas prices are likely to increase this spring due to seasonal demand and maintenance, barring any major increase in the global price of crude, AAA expects the national average to remain below $3 per gallon during 2015.