With news ranging from self-driving cars being right around the corner to doomsayers claiming the car market is ready to collapse, it's nice to see concrete results coming in regarding trends in 2017 car sales. With a full six months behind us, there's time to reflect on what has panned out for the industry.
Tesla on the Brink
For as much press as Tesla has gotten over the past few years, their first real test is only just getting ready to begin. The car company has proven itself to be innovative and we're about to find out if it's truly practical.
In early July, Elon Musk announced the Tesla 3 was ready for production. By the end of July, the first 30 people who ordered the $35,000 sedan will finally slide behind the wheel of Tesla's newest model. While the sedan still has a foreboding price tag, it's considered Tesla's attempt at a mainstream vehicle and, if it delivers on its promises, it could be a game changer. Musk has announced plans to begin producing 20,000 units a month (the total of their sales over the entire second quarter) which could make Tesla a force to reckoned for manufacturers.
Hybrids May Not Survive, But Electric Car Sales Look Promising
Hybrid and fully electric cars are definitely the wave of the future and sales in California have been used to gauge the popularity and commercial viability of these options. Recently, the Los Angeles Times published a review of sales for hybrid and electric cars for the first full quarter of 2017 and the results were somewhat surprising. Hybrid sales saw an overall decline (down around 9% from this time last year) but plug-in electric cars saw a promising boost in sales. Both Tesla and Chevy are primarily responsible for the surge in electric sales with the Model S and Bolt making up most of the sales. In the first quarter of 2017, electric cars accounted for roughly 1 in 10 sales throughout the state.
Keep Calm and Sell Some Used Cars
There have been stories about what some people were calling "the collapse of the auto market." While it's true that sales have declined, it's hardly what you would call a collapse of the market. But the downturn isn't exactly a cause for alarm.
As we've discussed before, the dip in sales comes on the heels of several years worth of record gains in car sales. Customers are certainly expecting more and coming in with a clearer idea of what they want. For used car dealerships, that means having the diverse inventory you need to match the expectations of your local customer base.
With all the hype, predictions and breaking news it's easy to see why so many dealers - and even industry experts - are calling for the sky to fall in the auto industry. Is the industry changing? Of course it is. Here we are in the 21st Century with new options when it comes to engines, design and even the way our cars connect with us. But at the end of the day, it's down to the people within the industry to change and adapt in order to give our customers the best in service and technology.