It's been a nice run for light vehicle sales worldwide since the 2008 recession.
Sales increased in the U.S. from 2009-16 before dipping slightly in 2017, but still holding above 17 million vehicles for four straight years through 2018. That streak could be in jeopardy, as the final U.S. light vehicle sales figure for 2019 could come just above, or below, the 17 million mark.
Flirting with 17 million in light vehicle sales is nothing to mope about. However, Roger Tutterow—a professor of economics at Kennesaw State University—said in his keynote address at the recent Hose Manufacturers Conference that if fleet sales are removed from the automotive numbers, the American consumer probably eased up on purchasing motor vehicles.
And it's not just a U.S. problem. Other global regions are seeing a similar slowdown, particularly in China. And the result has been several restructuring measures taken by suppliers to adjust, making it the No. 1 story of 2019 according to the Rubber & Plastics News editorial staff.
We put together the 10 biggest stories, and looked at major developments within our biggest industries—tire, automotive, medical, non-tire, small manufacturers, suppliers and general.
Join us as we look back at 2019.