Despite the recent downturn in new car and light truck sales, the number of light vehicles in operation (VIO) in the U.S. is undergoing “a historic surge,” according to data analysts at Lang Marketing Resources.
VIO dropped for six years following the Great Recession of 2008, an unusual development that had occurred only once before – in the four years during World War II when consumer vehicle production was shut down in the U.S.
“Starting with the upturn in 2014 new vehicle sales, the light vehicle VIO is undergoing a historic surge,” a recent Lang iReport states.
It describes 2013 to 2020 as a period of “Dramatic VIO Recovery.” After bottoming at just over 10.3 million in 2009 sales, the new car and light truck market began to rebound. By 2013 annual new volume reached 15.3 million, followed by the sale of over 16 million new cars and light trucks in 2014.
New vehicle annual volume in the U.S. averaged more than 17 million during the next four years (2015 through 2018), the strongest four-year span of new vehicle sales in U.S. history.
While 2019 annual sales will be down slightly from last year (off 1.7% through the first six months), Lang Marketing projects that the average annual sales of cars and light trucks from 2015 through 2019 will top 17 million, representing an unprecedented five-year run of new vehicle volume.
The marketing firm estimates that the VIO in the U.S. will surpass 293 million by mid-year 2020.
“This 2.4% average annual gain between 2013 and 2020 will mark a dramatic turnaround from the previous six years, and an increase of nearly 45 million cars and light trucks,” the report states.
It concludes that the rapid rise in VIO between 2013 and 2020 will add substantial fuel to aftermarket product growth.
The number of vehicles in operation in Canada is more than 26.8 million – the number of vehicle registrations in 2017, according to the Automotive Industries Association of Canada’s most recent Outlook Study (2018). The report says the national vehicle fleet is expected to continue growing into 2022 with an expected count of 28.5 million light vehicle registrations.