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New Vehicle Registrations Surpass 17 Million
Monday, December 28, 2015 6:50 AM

According to data from Experian Automotive, new vehicle registration growth for light-duty vehicles topped 17 million on an annual basis in the third quarter, the highest total since 2006.

The performance between Nov. 1, 2014, and Oct. 31, 2015, fell just short of the all-time record of 17.4 million, reached in June 2006. The weakest annual stretch occurred in 2009—in the wake of the financial crisis—when registrations fell to 10.2 million.

“It’s encouraging to see new registrations return to precession levels, with lower interest and higher employment rates driving vehicle demand,” said Brad Smith, Experian director of automotive market statistics. “While I’m sure the auto industry would like to continue this growth annually, it is important to continually monitor data trends and economic indicators to identify shifts in demand and adjust business strategies accordingly.”

Bill Hampel, CUNA chief policy officer, told CUBroadcast last week that surging vehicle sales will continue their torrid pace in the coming years, and that credit unions can take advantage of this trend. “Auto lending is really good for credit unions,” Hampel said, noting that credit unions can fortify their balance sheets by dipping deeper into consumer loans.

The Experian data found that consumers have shifted their preferences regarding the type of vehicles they like to purchase as well. Crossover utility vehicles, for example, comprised nearly a quarter of the market this year, more than a 100 percent increase from 2006.

This type of vehicle “provides consumers with a nice balance between utilitarian need and fuel economy,” Smith said. “All-wheel drive versions and roof racks provide the recreational sportsman with the fit and function needed for weekend getaways, while the rear hatch makes these vehicles a viable grocery-getter as well.”