The US car industry is cautiously optimistic under Trump – but here's what it needs to watch out for

The 2018 Detroit motor show, or the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), starts tomorrow Credit: Paul Sancya /AP

While the United States seems politically all at sea, the country's car market sailed serenely on last year, down, but not by much; just two per cent to 17.2 million light vehicles, which continues a seven-year growth cycle.

"It was down a little, which makes incentives go up and there were some interesting financing options out there, but in general the market was very robust," observes Carla Bailo, chief executive of the Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research.

"This will be the third consecutive year of 17 plus million sales," commented Tom Libby of industry analysts IHS Markit. "This is the first time this has happened since the inception of the industry more than 100 years ago. All the auto industry constituencies understandably look forward and envision the good times – here they are!"

And in a world where political staff change by the day, the car market's end of year stats contained...

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