Rates Won't Derail Record 2016 Auto Sales, Analysts Say | Auto Finance News | Auto Finance News

Rates Won’t Derail Record 2016 Auto Sales, Analysts Say

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / viperagpDespite slightly higher interest rates, U.S. auto sales are headed for another new record in 2016, on top of forecasted record sales of 17.5 million in 2015, analysts said.

“Car sales have hit record numbers in 2015, and a big part of the reason is low credit rates and wide credit availability for consumers,” Akshay Anand, a Kelly Blue Book analyst, told AFN in an email on Dec. 31. “Even with the Fed raising rates, the rates will be raised at a small level each time, meaning in 2016, credit may still be very accessible when compared to many years in the past.”

In a survey of 2,301 consumers who expect to be in the market for a new vehicle in the next 12 months, 80% said a 1% increase in rates would not change their buying intentions, J.D. Power and Associates said in December. Another 13% would shop for a cheaper car, and 7% would consider a used car, the firm said.

On Dec. 16, the Federal Open Market Committee in effect raised its benchmark federal funds rate to 0.25% from 0%. Many lenders responded by raising their prime rates accordingly.

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