Cars for sale are parked at the Automax Ford in Killeen on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017.

Auto sales for new vehicles in Bell County are down around 1,500 compared to last year’s sales numbers, and the dip in sales fits with the current nationwide trend.

The auto sale industry had been booming for seven years, but now the industry is taking a downward turn.

According to data published by the Wall Street Journal, car sales in particular are taking a big hit, with a decrease of 10.3 percent in sales from 2016 to 2017, based on information reported through November 2017. Truck sales have experienced a small uptick from last year, seeing a 4.6 percent growth nationwide.

In Bell County, both car and truck sales numbers have been lagging behind 2016’s year-to-date numbers. Car sales through November saw a 7.16 percent decrease from the previous year and truck sales saw a 4.73 percent decrease.

Total vehicles sales for the past 5 years

Year Bell County Coryell County
2017 16,293 848
2016 17,438 1,146
2015 16,841 1,124
2014 16,104 1,007
2013 15,390 958

Vehicle sales in Coryell County are seeing an even larger drop in sales. Car sales through November saw a 19.70 percent decrease in sales from the previous year and truck sales are down 33.15 percent.

When it comes to makes of cars, Bell and Coryell counties each have a preferred car manufacturer. Bell County residents prefer Ford, purchasing 2.460 cars and trucks through November. Coryell County residents prefer Chevrolet models, purchasing a total of 265 vehicles through November.

According to a November report by the Associated Press, slowing demand for new vehicles makes it almost certain 2017 will be the first year with declining sales in seven years for new vehicles nationwide. Yearly car sales in Bell County fall right in line with that report. The last year local sales saw a drop from the previous year was 2009, according to information obtained from The Freeman Auto Report.

Where car dealers really had the first indication that auto sales would start to decrease was in the number of vehicles that made their way to the junkyard. In the past two decades, about 13 million vehicles were dropping out of the U.S. fleet every year, far less than the number of new vehicles sold over the past five years, according to Bloomberg reports. In other words, people are driving their older cars for longer and upgrading less often.

Cars are staying on the road longer because vehicles made in the past two decades are safer and more reliable than the vehicles that came before. The average car or truck on U.S. roads today was made in 2005. As older cars last longer, newer vehicles are coming off the lots at slower rates.

Analysts suspect one of the main contributing factors to lagging auto sales is an increase in the rate of innovation. As advancements continue to be made in the realms of electric trains and automated driving, many drivers assume the “next big thing” in cars is right around the corner. So, instead of buying new cars outright, many drivers are choosing instead to lease new vehicles.

Falling sales are not indicative of approaching disaster, however. According to Bloomberg, auto sales have always run in a cyclical pattern, and the current lagging sales just mark the end of the current cycle.

“These are not secrets,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Kevin Tynan. “It’s not like nobody knew we were late in the cycle.

“The way the industry has always worked, you get all you can get while you can. When the industry shifts gears, then you deal with it.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.