During the so-called Great Recession, stretching from the late 2000s to the early 2010s, car sales plummeted as consumers struggling with unemployment and a poor economy decided it was cheaper to get a few more years out of their current vehicles than to buy something new and shiny.
After the recession, it was car-buying time again, and with dropping fuel prices making it cheap and enjoyable to drive America’s roadways again, less-budget friendly pickup trucks and SUVs began to roll off the lots. Something has changed, though.
Ford — which also makes Lincoln vehicles — and General Motors — which also makes Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Buick vehicles — both saw sales steeply drop by 5% this June compared to June of 2016, according to CNN Money. But Fiat Chrysler is doing worse with a 7% decline.
Fiat Chrysler also owns the Dodge, Jeep, and Ram Trucks brands, among others. Fiat purchased Chrysler after the automaker went bankrupt during the recession in 2009.
Unlike all the other major automakers selling in the U.S., Toyota actually saw an increase in sales of 2% since last year. The Japanese manufacturer’s popularity continues to rise in America despite a spate of massive recalls over the past several years.
With the economy clipping along, though, and gas prices still low, it’s hard to say why so many carmakers are seeing less business in 2017. CNN Money points to buyers saving up to buy more expensive vehicles as there’s a renewed thirst for luxury.
Cox Automotive economist Charlie Chesbrough isn’t too worried about the U.S. car manufacturers, though, saying, "June's sales number reaffirms that the U.S. vehicle sales are in a post-peak phase. The U.S. economy remains strong — confidence is high, unemployment is low — and this will continue to support vehicle demand over the near-term."
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