In this economic environment, loans are king. And for most of our community bank and credit union clients, auto loans play an enormous role in growth.

When you understand the national trends, you can better create your auto loan growth plan.

US Total Vehicle Sales Nov 2015 - Oct 2016December is the worst auto buying month, right?
Not so fast. In 2015, February was the slowest auto buying month with less than $16.5 million in sales, follows by April.

So far this year, March has been the slowest at just over $16.5 million, followed by June. June?!? Summer?!? Wonderful, car-buying weather and it is consistently among the worst trending months. Are you pushing “summer auto loans” in June? Maybe you should rethink it.

In fact, the only solid trend is that Fall is strong. This coincides with when most car companies are releasing their new models.

Auto sales have leveled off after a steep climb.
Like the rest of the US economy, auto sales plummeted in 2008 and hit rock bottom in 2009 with a record low of $9.05 million. They have been on an US Total Vehicle Sales 2006 - 2016upward trend since 2010.

In April of 2011, there was less than $12 million in auto sales. By October 2016, we were at just over $18 million. An increase of roughly 50%.

But it looks unlikely that we’ll see our all-time high of $21.77 million (set in October 2001) any time soon. In 2016, we’ve hit a plateau, hovering just under $18 million and slightly below September through November of 2015.


  • Auto sales have climbed back to where we were in the early 2000’s and have essentially leveled off. Meaning, auto has effectively recovered from the recession and we shouldn’t rely on or budget for much of an additional increase.
  • Do not treat auto loans as a seasonal product. People are purchasing vehicles all year long. Don’t miss your opportunity to be there for them when they need you. Auto, like checking, should be an ongoing message where you are top-of-mind when the need arises.
  • If you’re going to have a hard push on auto loans, make it in September around the new model releases.

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