n 2015, the boom in the auto industry is expected to continue. In the previous year, the auto industry recorded the best sales in the last 8 years. With a growing economy, improved consumer confidence, lower interest rates, and a low gas price, car sales are expected to increase in 2015. Due to high competition among auto makers, more rebates, better lease deals and new attractive features will be the norm. Here are some of the things car buyers should expect in 2015.

 

Growth in Auto Loans

 

According to Equifax and TransUnion, two of the major credit reporting agencies in the U.S., lease payments and car loan balances will increase in 2015. In fact, TransUnion projects that the debt per consumer at the end of 2015 will grow to $18,244. Car leasing is also expected to increase by 29% – an increase of 2 percent from 27% in 2014.

 

Car buyers should also expect longer auto loans. In October 2014, auto giant,Chrysler, announced their 7-year auto loan. This is expected to make it easier for consumers to meet up with their monthly payments. Equifax’s Dennis Carlson said that longer payment periods indicate that the cost of cars will rise, and auto dealers will offer more attractive loan packages. Buyers, however, can heave a sigh of relief because Equifax reported that, in November 2014, 60-day defaulters reduced from 1.15% to 1.04%.

 

Massive Online Car Sales

 

In 2015, there will be a steady rise in the number of cars purchased online. For instance, big auto dealer groups like Sonic and AutoNation will be building more robust online auto shopping platforms for their clients. This new shopping experience is meant to provide more time and money savings for their customers.

 

Sonic Automotive, is going to launch a new auto shopping initiative captioned: One-Sonic One-Experience. In this new approach, customers no longer have to bargain endlessly to get a good price. A fixed price tag will be attached to each vehicle. The customer will enjoy a seamless buying experience and buy their new car in 45 minutes. In fact, you will be able to buy a car from any of their dealer outlets with minimal paper transactions and your mobile credit card.

 

AutoNation has also launched a new digital shopping mall where you can make reservations with your credit card. Most of the transaction can be done online with their SmartChoice Express service. Now, you may search through their inventory of over 70,000 old and new vehicles. Then you can request for a certificate assuring you of the price of the vehicle you want to buy. All their 237 locations will be able to use their new web portal to handle trade-ins, vehicle repairs, bill payments and service scheduling.

 

The Hot List

 

In addition to the increased use of web portals for auto related transactions in 2015, buyers should also expect the following trends when they visit auto dealers:

 

Subcompact SUVs

 

Several new subcompact SUVs will be launched in this year. Top on the list are: Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Mazda MX-3 and Fiat 500X. Auto enthusiasts will recall that the new Chevrolet Trax was launched at the end of 2014. These vehicles are expected to attract several first-time buyers including young urban dwellers.

 

Trucks

 

Lower fuel prices will enable auto manufacturers to offer more trucks in 2015. The 2015 Ford F-150, with an attractive aluminum body, is poised to be the truck-to-beat this year. Other pickup trucks to look out for in this category include: Toyota Tundra, GMC Sierra, Chevy Silverado and Ram. The mid-sized category will also have the newly redesigned Tacoma from Toyota competing with the new GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado.

 

Luxury Cars

 

Buyers of luxury cars should look out for the Jaguar XE and Mercedes Maybach. The Land Rover Discovery, Audi Q7, and Lincoln MKX are also expected to be hot favorites among luxury car buyers who are interested in crossover SUVs.

 

Better transportation services

 

With fuel being cheaper than ever, auto transporation industry will see a huge boost as transport fees will be lower too. A representative from a leading Auto Transport Company says, “We are expecting a lot of consignments this year. People are more mobile with their cars. We have already enhanced our capacity targeting Snowbirds moving to the South this winter.”

 

Better Infotainment Systems

 

In 2015, auto makers are expected give their customers a better driving experience through improved in-car technology. The infotainment systems are expected to be safer and more user-friendly. For example, Ford has replaced its old MyFordTouch technology with the new Ford Sync system which is easier to use.

 

Greener Cars

 

Car manufacturers, who need to comply with the new regulations on fuel economy and carbon emissions, will showcase their advanced power-train technologies. Two prominent carmakers: Toyota and Honda have already announced the launch of their fuel cell technology. In January this year, at the auto show in Detroit, Honda will showcase its FCV fuel cell, while Toyota will launch Mirai in California later in the year.

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