The U.S. auto industry is in the midst of a serious good news/bad news phase. The good news is that 2015 turned out to be the biggest year of automotive sales in American history. There were 17.5 million vehicles sold last year, edging the previous record of 17.4 million, set back in 2000.
But that hasn't prevented U.S. automakers from feeling the effects of the new year's slump in the stock markets. Ford is down 8.8 percent so far this year, and GM down 11 percent. AutoNation, the largest car retailer in the U.S., is down 20 percent.
Why is that? Many observers think the auto industry is a victim of its own success. After the strong records the industry set in 2015, many insiders don't see any more room from vehicle sales to grow.