Local auto sales up as national record set in 2015

Trucks sales surge while car registrations dip in metro Milwaukee area

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Auto sales in the United States set a record in 2015 and Milwaukee-area auto dealers also had a good year, because of a major increase in light truck sales that more than made up for a dip in car sales. Overall, new vehicle registrations were up over 10 percent in Milwaukee County, according to Jim Tolkan, president of the Automobile Dealers Association of Mega-Milwaukee.car dealership shutterstock_352043486

“The Milwaukee area is doing extremely well,” he said, noting the region has some of the largest volume dealers who are very aggressive in selling cars.

Tolkan said improving employment, low gas prices, interest rates, available credit, aggressive dealers and the emergence of inexpensive lease payments were among the factors contributing to the increase locally.

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“Millennials are increasing their activity in the car market, which they were basically absent four, five or six years ago,” Tolkan said.

Nationwide, a total of 17.47 million vehicles were sold in 2015, according to data released Tuesday by Autodata Corp. The figure was a 5.7 percent increase and was driven by a jump in the sales of light trucks. Sales of passenger cars were actually down 2.2 percent to 7.7 million. But sales of light trucks were up 13.1 percent to 9.7 million.

Truck registrations also outpaced auto registrations locally with 45,324 new trucks registered in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties while 31,375 cars were registered.

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New car registrations in the metro area were actually down 1.1 percent through the end of November, but overall vehicle sales in the area were boosted by a significant increase in light trucks, including SUVs.

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