U.S. auto sales fell slightly in 2017, the first decline in eight years. Most analysts expected sales to ebb after the record-breaking run that followed the end of the Great Recession. But is it just a blip, or something else?
“You might see in the auto industry what happened in the real estate industry in 2008,” says Erin Marquis, Managing Editor of Jalopnik. Ten years ago, the housing market crashed under the weight of bad mortgages and a flagging economy. She warns the automakers could be facing their own bubble.
“It feels like a bubble,” Marquis says. “Things are starting to slow down in a serious way that’s making people very nervous.”
The decline in sales comes as the world’s car manufacturers gather for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Much of the talk at this year’s show is about autonomous vehicles and more electric/hybrid options for car buyers. Marquis says every car company is using electric devices to improve safety and the driving experience.
“Every car has them, even if it’s just providing torque,” she says. “Even the Ram 1500, which you think of as a big working truck. But it has a little electric motor to give it that extra torque. So it’s even sneaking into the gas-guzzling segments like trucks.”
Watch the video and click on the audio player to hear the conversation with WDET’s Pat Batcheller.