Figures to be released today are likely to show a third straight month of annualized new-car sales below 10 million, the Wall Street Journal reports—but there’s a chance those numbers have hit bottom. Considering the size of the American consumer market, today’s figure “is about as low as it's going to get,” says an analyst.
Monthly new-car sales over the past decade shook out to around 16 million yearly, but it’s unlikely we’ll soon reach those levels again, says an economist. “If you reason there was a bubble in housing, then there was some degree of bubble in durable consumption,” he says. “When the economy recovers, we will be above nine million, but we may not be up near 16 million again for a long time."