LIMA — New car sales in Allen County continued to grow in 2019, and industry experts predict the trend will continue nationwide during 2020.
Last year saw 5,802 new vehicles purchased in Allen County, an increase of nearly 5% over the 5,539 new vehicles purchased in 2018.
Once again Honda was the top seller, with 1,496 new vehicles sold in 2019, more than twice the number of Ford, which had the second highest total in the county with 617 sales, according to Kris Thompson, manager of the Allen County Title Department. The numbers reflect the title transactions made by Allen County residents from within the county as well as those titled outside of the county.
The No. 3 seller in Allen County in 2019 was Toyota with 604 new vehicles purchased followed by Hyundai (262) and Chevrolet (243).
That compares to the top five in 2018: Honda (1,343), Toyota (613), Ford (572), Chevrolet (272) and GMC (156).
“December was a crazy month for sales, with all of the advertisements and commercials promoting special deals. It always is that way,” Thompson said. “July was the big summer month.”
Thompson said the strong car sales are a boon for state and local governments.
“It’s really an eye-opener to see the local tax numbers,” Thompson said. She pointed out the state received the bulk of the money from Allen County, collecting $18.6 million in taxes on new and used vehicles sold. That compares to $184,072 that went into the cookie jar of Allen County commissioners.
Meanwhile, the automotive trends business Edmunds predicts new vehicle sales in the U.S. during 2020 will surpass 17 million units. That would mark the sixth consecutive year that vehicle sales eclipsed the 17 million mark.
“The auto industry has some decent tailwinds heading into 2020. Strong economic factors such as low unemployment and high consumer confidence are carrying over from last year. Finance rates are expected to remain relatively stable, and this is a presidential election year, which historically tends to correspond with a year-over-year lift in new vehicle sales,” Jessica Caldwell, executive director of Edmunds, told dBusiness, an on-line Detroit business publication.
Although new vehicle sales are expected to be healthy, the Edmunds analyst noted the increase in vehicle prices could knock some buyers out of the new-vehicle market. The average transaction price for a new vehicle in 2019 climbed to an all-time record of $37,183, and prices are expected to keep rising.
“Prices are shooting up because shoppers are opting for pricey SUVs and trucks packed with more high-tech options than ever before,” says Caldwell. “These increased costs, combined with the discontinuation of more-affordable options like domestic passenger cars, could prompt shoppers to shift their focus to the used market — or delay their purchase altogether.”