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5 auto trends to watch in 2018

The auto industry will close out 2017 with U.S. sales of 17.1 million units -- its first sales decline in seven years. How will automakers respond? And will SUVs and CUVs continue their domination in 2018? Here are the five biggest trends to watch for drivers and carmakers.

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Car sales

PHOTO: A luxury sports car sits on display in a dealership in Manhattan, Nov. 30, 2017 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
A luxury sports car sits on display in a dealership in Manhattan, Nov. 30, 2017 in New York City.
Auto sales in 2018 will be “OK but not great,” according to Dave Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. He predicts automakers across the board will offer generous incentives to boost sales.

“It’s great for consumers … there are fantastic deals right now,” he noted. “Automakers are still trying to clean out inventory.”

There are several reasons for the dip. Consumers are holding onto cars longer because reliability “is the best it’s ever been,” he said. People are also choosing used cars, a trend that has diluted new car sales. Moreover, 3 million lease vehicles are coming back to the market, adding to supply. Almost a third of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. are now leased, according to Brandon Mason, a director in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ automotive practice.

 

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