Honda poised for growth, Detroit to hold steady, Car Wars study says

The automotive industry is expected to keep booming in the US over the next several years, but the train might start running out of steam in the long term, according to 2015's Car Wars report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst John Murphy. The forecast focuses on changes between the 2016 and 2019 model years, and the latest trends appear similar in some cases to the past predictions.

Sales are expected to keep growing and reach a peak of 20 million in 2018, according to the Detroit Free Press. The expansion is projected to come from a quick pace of vehicle launches, with an average of 48 introductions a year – 26 percent more than in 1996. Crossovers are expected to make up a third of these, maintaining their strong popularity.

However, Murphy predicts a decline, as well. By 2025, total sales could fall to around 15 million units. As of May 2015, the seasonally adjusted annual rate for this year stands at 17.71 million.

Like last year, Honda is predicted to be a big winner in the future thanks to products like the next-gen Civic. "Honda should be the biggest market share gainer," Murphy said when presenting the report, according to Free Press. Meanwhile, in a situation similar to Car Wars from 2012, a lack of many new vehicles is expected to cause a drop for Hyundai, Kia, and Nissan.

Based on this forecast, Ford, General Motors, and FCA US will all generally maintain market share for the coming years. The report does make some future product predictions, though. The next Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra might come in 2019, which is earlier than expected. Also, Lincoln could get a Mustang-based coupe for 2017, a compact sedan for 2018 and an Explorer-based model in 2019, according to the Free Press.

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