Business

Houston-Area Vehicle Sales Down Nearly 40 Percent From July 2015

Uncertainty over low oil prices and the 2016 presidential election is discouraging Houston consumers from spending on big-ticket items like cars.

Greater Houston auto dealers reported 22,145 vehicles sold in July. That’s down from 35,748 in July 2015, a drop of 38.1 percent.

“Well, I think we’ve finally hit the wall. I believe that the continued uncertainty about oil prices has begun to take its toll,” says Steve McDowell, president of InfoNation and publisher of TexAuto Facts. He says worries about the broader economy may also be hurting sales, along with uncertainty tied to the presidential election.

“We’ve got a clear signal now. We’re seven months into the year. I don’t see this turning around in the last five months,” he says.

McDowell has revised his forecast for total vehicle sales for 2016 downward to somewhere between 290,000 and 300,000 vehicles. He says that’s a healthy number by historical standards, but it’s a far cry from the record sales of the past two years.

Editor’s note: The year in the headline of this story incorrectly stated that it was comparing vehicle sales from 2014. In fact, the story looks at sales from 2015. We regret the error.

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Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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