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2012-02-24 09:12

VEHICLE SALES: Despite the ailing European vehicle market, analysts believe the US sales will soar even higher than earlier predictions.

DETROIT, Michigan - JD Power and Associates-LMC Automotive has raised its 2012 US vehicle sales forecast to 14 million vehicles, up from 13.8 million.

The consultant firms said the lagging European economy was not holding back US sales.

Vehicle sales in 2011 were 12.8 million vehicles.

A rebound in leasing, more available credit and long-term financing as well as pent-up demand caused the rise in the forecast, the consultant firms said.

February vehicle sales are seen finishing at 1.06 million, up 3% from 2011, for a seasonally adjusted and annualised selling rate of 14 million vehicles, the firms said.

"The auto industry is well positioned for the best performance since 2007 and is expected to approach full recovery in the next two years with total light-vehicle sales at 16 million units by 2014," said Jeff Schuster, senior vice-president of forecasting at LMC Automotive.

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