U.S. auto sales fell 2% to 17.2 million in 2017, according to Autodata Corp. It was their first year-over-year decline since 2009, but still the fourth-best sales year in U.S. history, after 2000, 2015 and 2016, according to Kelley Blue Book.
Most major automakers reported lower December U.S. sales, while forecasting weaker overall sales in 2018. GM said it expects the industry to sell less than 17 million new vehicles in 2018.
According to Autodata, the seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of U.S. car and light truck sales in December fell to 17.9 million units from 18.2 million in December 2016.
Sale of new cars in Mexico ended 2017 with a 4.6% drop by selling 1.53 million light vehicles, according to figures from the Mexican Association of the Automotive Industry (AMIA).
The three best-selling automakers ended 2017 with sale decreases. Nissan sold 364,557 vehicles, 9.1% less than in 2016; General Motors sold 258,523 units, 16.2% less; and Volkswagen sold 233,942 units, 5.4% less compared to 2016.
In 2016, 1.6 million cars were sold, the highest volume in the history of the automotive industry in Mexico. The increase in the price of vehicles, the interest rates and the indebtedness of Mexicans put a brake on car purchases in the local market.
Canadians last year purchased more than two million vehicles for the first time thanks to record sales of light trucks. DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. said new vehicles sold in 2017 hit a high for a fifth consecutive year.
"The new record currently stands at 2,038,798 units sold in Canada, an astonishing total that has come off the back of nine months seeing record levels of sales," it said in a statement.
The milestone was reached despite lower sales in the last two months of the year when sales fell 1.1% in December and 1.2% in November. Sales in 2017 increased 4.6% over 2016, marking the eighth consecutive year of sales increases since the financial crisis of 2009.
Ford led with 308,500 units sold, up 1.1% on the year, compared to General Motors which saw sales surge 13.3% to 302,800 vehicles.
FCA was the third-largest car brand with sales of 267,052 vehicles, followed by Toyota at 199,782 and Honda at 176,951.