Another Year of Declining Sales for Auto Industry Predicted

Electric vehicles should claim 4.4 percent of overall market next year, up from 3.2 percent in 2017, analysts at Edmunds estimate.

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A total 16.8 million new vehicles will be sold in 2018, down from an anticipated 17.2 million sales this year, Edmunds predicts.

The forecast marks a second straight year of decline for the car industry, with sales driven largely by the ongoing popularity of trucks and SUVs, according to analysts at the provider of car information.

Yet coming down from a peak growth spurt for the auto industry is no great "travesty," Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director of industry analysis, told a webcast on Monday. Instead, the industry remains healthy and is merely returning to a more normalized pace, she said.

The new year should be the greenest yet for the auto industry, with an overall market share for electric vehicles, both plug-ins and traditional hybrids, reaching 4.4 percent next year, compared to an estimated 3.2 percent in 2017, projected Edmunds.

Sales of plug-in vehicles will double in 2018 as compared to this year, outselling traditional hybrids by the end of next year.

Even if Tesla fails to meet full production commitments for the Model 3 until midsummer, 2018 will still be a banner year for green vehicles. "The price of batteries is coming down, EV range is rising and shoppers will have more choices than ever," Caldwell stated.

Still, the lower end of the EV market will be hit as federal tax credits start to fade towards the latter half of 2018, she added.

Many auto brands, especially in the luxury sector, will be phasing out slow-selling passenger cars in favor of small SUVs, according to Edmunds.