United States - car sales outlook 2019-2025

Light vehicle sales in the United States are projected to fall to around 16.4 million units in 2021 and rebound to about 17.7 million units by 2025. In 2018, motorists in the U.S. bought some 17.2 million new automobiles and light trucks. This marked the fourth year straight that new vehicle sales in the U.S. exceeded 17 million units.

Long-term investment

In 2018, the average price of a new light vehicle came to almost 35,250 U.S. dollars, which is about 57 percent of the median household income in the United States. Since the acquisition of a new car is such a large investment, some 85 percent of new vehicle buyers use financing schemes. Furthermore, it is expected that new motor vehicle owners will not add new vehicles anytime soon to the cars and light trucks already in their driveways. In 2018, the average age of vehicles on U.S. roads was 11.7 years. However, this figure was even higher for households with an income level below 25,000 U.S. dollars per year. People living in such households reportedly held on to their vehicles for 13 years.

Projected light vehicle sales in the United States from 2019 to 2025

Sales in million units
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Release date

February 2019


United States

Survey time period


Supplementary notes

* Historical data compiled from Ward's Automotive Intelligence.

** Forecasts compiled by the Center for Automotive Research.

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