U.S. Car Sales Continue the Uphill Trend in December

While the U.S. car market is still underachieving compared to the best results of the last decade, December sales are expected to significantly contribute to the annual forecast of about 12 million sold vehicles, as 2010 is clearly ending with an uphill trend, according to industry analysts.

“That's a long way from the 16 million and 17 million sales rates that we experienced for the better part of this decade. But we're coming out of 2010 on an upswing and I think this bodes well for 2011”, said Ford Motor Co. sales analyst George Pipas.

The trend could continue well into next year, though December results are not enough for a thorough forecast. However, industry experts are optimistic due to the fact that retails sale are up, compared to the less profitable fleet and rental sales, which are expected to drop by about one and a half percent, according to TrueCar.com.

“It's slowly evolving”, Morningstar analyst David Whiston said of the recovery. “You did just see the retail (annualized sales rate) creep up. It's not like it shot up half a million units in one month. It's going to be gradual”.

Compared to 2009, GM’s sales are up 1.9 percent, while Ford shows even more stamina with a 6.3% growth. On the other hand, Toyota is still struggling, as the massive recalls it has issued this year are taking their toll and it’s expected to report an 11.4% drop for the closing month of 2010.

By Csaba Daradics

Source: Reuters