GM CEO Sees U.S. Auto Economy Expanding in 2015


DETROIT – General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra said today the automaker expects light vehicle sales in the United States to reach from 16.5 million to 17.0 million units this year, the highest number of industry sales since 2001 when 17 million units were sold. The industry delivered 16.5 million light vehicles in 2014.

“The U.S. economy and vehicle sales have been rebounding since 2009, and we believe there is still plenty of room for the auto industry to grow,” Barra said. “The strength of the labor market, better job security and the recovery in home prices have consumers feeling pretty good about the future, so we expect people will continue to replace their older cars and trucks. The recent sharp drop in fuel prices and rising incomes should only add to their confidence.

“The most important change we see coming is the return of younger and first-time buyers to the market.”

Strong real GDP growth is expected to create new job opportunities in 2015 — as many as 200,000 new jobs per month. That should drive higher labor force participation and better job prospects for recent college graduates.

Third party studies reinforce this view, including the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which said in its Job Outlook 2015 report that employers plan to hire 8.3 percent more new college graduates from the Class of 2015 for their U.S. operations than they did from the Class of 2014.

“A growing jobs market and new vehicles that exceed expectations for fuel economy and high technology are the best ways to rekindle the love affair America’s youth have historically had with cars and trucks,” Barra said.

Barra said Chevrolet is particularly well positioned to attract new customers in 2015, since it has reentered the mid-size pickup segment with the Colorado and launched seven small cars and crossovers in the last four years.

These include the Spark, Sonic and Cruze, which all posted their best-ever annual sales in 2014, as well as the Trax, which began arriving in showrooms in December.

The Trax is a small SUV that offers seating for five with available all-wheel drive and EPA-estimated fuel economy of up to 32 mpg on the highway. It also offers an available 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and Siri Eyes Free control of the audio system with compatible smart phones.

The emerging small-SUV segment in the United States is estimated to grow more than 80 percent in the next few years. Trax is already on sale in 67 global markets, where it has generated approximately 188,000 sales since its 2012 introduction.