With another year of record sales having passed, auto dealers now are looking ahead to the rest of 2018. Early forecasts from the National Automobile Dealers Assn., Cox and Edmunds predict that even though a decrease in new-vehicle sales is expected, a robust and stable year lies ahead.

On the regulatory end, dealers will need to pay attention to the actions of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as well as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) throughout the year as they enforce stricter oversight.

Read on for an overview of the trends and challenges facing auto dealers this year. According to NADA’s 2018 U.S. sales forecast, new car and truck sales will slightly decline from last year’s total of 17.2 million to about 16.7 million.

As NADA senior economist Patrick Manzi explains, the slight drop is partly due to increases in interest rates, which the Federal Reserve will raise this year, increasing loan terms and higher transaction prices. A jump in late-model used cars coming off leases also is a factor in falling new-vehicle sales.

Yet, backed by steady economic and labor-market growth, consumer spending power is up. Drops in deliveries of new vehicles thus are expected to be matched by increases in used-car sales. The total used-vehicle market is expected to exceed 40 million sales this year, with 15.3 million used vehicles being sold by new-vehicle dealerships.

Greater entry of plug-in and hybrid vehicles is also on the map. According to Edmunds, the latter could grow from 3% in 2017 to about 4.4% in 2018.

The Trump Admin.’s tax-reform bill, signed into law Dec. 22, also is expected to give the industry a boost, further helping dealers adjust. Moreover, as consumers shift from sedans toward light trucks, SUVs and crossovers, all of which offer more utility, dealership profits will remain high. Light trucks are likely to top 65% of the market in 2018.

What about regulations? Will auto dealers face any regulatory constraints this year?