We love to drive, but selling vehicles is getting a little tougher.  S&P Global Ratings sees challenges in several key markets around the world.  Their analysts predict a 3.6% decline in light vehicle sales in the U.S. in 2019, down to 16.6 million units.  That’s 200,000 less than their previous expectation.  They point to a number of factors including rising borrowing costs, a decline in used vehicle prices, and waning tax benefits for alternative-fuel vehicles.

In China, the world's largest single auto market, S&P Global Ratings is now forecasting a 3% decrease this year, following a similar result in 2018.  Analysts point to tight financial conditions in late 2018 and early 2019 in China. While they say that has eased a bit, they still expect pressure on economic growth in China.

In Europe, S&P Global Ratings is projecting no growth in auto sales for 2019.  The region is facing geopolitical tensions, including Brexit. 

Of course, it’s still relatively early in the year.  The warmer weather and second quarter could change the ultimate outcome after a rough start to the year.