Report: 2015 auto sales to reach highest in decade

Report: 2015 auto sales to reach highest in decade

A new report predicts U.S. car sales will skyrocket to the highest numbers in the past decade this coming year.

TrueCar, an auto advisory website for consumers, forecasts the auto industry will reach $553 billion in total revenue for 2015. If that prediction comes true, the number would be an all-time record for vehicle sales.

In Madison, car dealerships say the report comes on the heels of an already impressive year. East Madison Toyota saw a nearly 10 percent increase in vehicle sales over 2014, according to general manager John Wineke.

“We’re going to see our biggest sales numbers of all time,” he says.

Wineke says the dealership typically sells 3,600 cars a year. So far in 2014, salesmen there have surpassed 4,000 sales. He attributes that growth to higher consumer confidence and lower gas prices.

“In the past, you sold to people in a need position,” Wineke says. “Now we’re seeing people buy cars because they want to.”

Car sales manager Nate Riesen agrees.

“It’s ‘I want’ versus ‘I need,”’ Riesen says. “People are wanting a nicer ride than what we’ve been selling in the past couple years.”

A nicer ride, and a bigger one, too – East Madison Toyota’s sales have largely come in the form of SUVs and trucks. Once accounting for roughly 45 percent of the dealership’s sales, larger vehicles are now making up closer to 60 percent.

“The price of gas is down, and people want to have reasonable space to carry their family around,” Riesen says.

“[Fuel mileage] was usually one of the first things you heard about when people came in,” says Wineke. “But now they’re looking for something that will fit [their] family or their luggage.”