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U.S. car sales hit record rates, but millions left unsold

Posting in Energy

Car sales may be going through the roof, but that doesn't mean there are not millions of vehicles rusting away unsold in lots across the United States.

The American vehicle market is booming. Analysts say that the annual car sales rate could climb to 15.8 million this year, rising from 14.1 million in 2012; the best year on record since the sale of 16.1 vehicles in 2007.

In addition, it's not just fossil fuel-based cars being snapped up; around 40,000 plug-in electric vehicles were purchased by Americans in the first six months of 2013.

However, over 3.27 million cars are still in car lots across the country, left rusty and unloved despite high consumer demand. In comparison, there were only 2.7 million vehicles left unclaimed -- which suggests automakers may be stepping on the production accelerator a little too hard.

Rather than following business models that manufacture just enough cars to meet consumer demand, inventory rates have been rising as automakers continue to refine and push more interactive, desirable vehicles into the market without sloughing away old stock first. In addition, 2008's recession impacted the industry as many Americans tightened their belts and held off replacing their cars for as long as possible.

According to Bloomberg analysts, over 100 million cars in the U.S. are between seven and 12 years of age -- the perfect time for consumers to spend their money repairing or replacing vehicles. With interest rates generally low and car loans easy to secure, this could be an optimal time to pick up a deal as manufacturers try to clear away some of the congestion.

Via: Bloomberg Businessweek

Image credit: Flickr

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— By on July 31, 2013, 3:06 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure