Credit unions may have noticed more members leaning towards trading in their decade-old cars for something newer.
Vehicle sales are expected to continue with slow but steady improvement in 2012, according to NAFCU Chief Economist Tun Wai.
“Buyers are eager to update their vehicles, as the average car is now 11 years old,” Wai said.
According to NAFCU’s Macro Data Flash report for December, excluding the temporary boost during the Cash for Clunkers program, the last two months marked the strongest sales pace since June 2008.
Wai said business demand has been propping up weak consumer demand. As a result, the mix of sales has tilted toward light trucks over the past 18 months, driven by an increase in fleet sales, he noted.
Still, “consumer sales are edging up despite persistent economic headwinds,” Wai added.
Meanwhile, the effects of the Japanese earthquake and resulting supply outage continue to dissipate, Wai said. Toyota and Nissan have achieved their year-ago sales figures, although Honda continues to lag behind.