Report: U.S. auto sales growth to outpace global growth in 2013 image

The United States will increase its share of world auto sales this year even as its economy cools, analysts and executives predict ahead of the Detroit Auto Show.

According to most estimates, American light vehicle sales are expected to rise 4 to 7 percent with prices remaining strong. That would exceed the 2.6 percent global expansion forecast by consulting firm LMC Automotive, Reuters reports.

“Even if China overtook the U.S. as our biggest-volume market, the U.S. is and will remain our second-most important market after Germany,” Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller was quoted as saying by Reuters. Mueller thinks Europe would be “lucky” to see a recovery before 2015, as „the situation is as critical as ever.”

The European market, already near a 20-year low, is expected to shrink another 1.7 percent this year to 17.8 million light vehicles by LMC Automotive, while the United States grows 4.2 percent to 15.1 million. By comparison, U.S. auto sales averaged nearly 17 million vehicles a year in the decade prior to 2008 when the recession arrived.

Projected U.S. deliveries will account for 18.2 percent of the 82.7 million global total, compared with 17.9 percent in 2012. By comparison, sales growth will be close to zero in Brazil and will slow to 3.4 percent in Russia, while China is expected to grow 10.2 percent from 5.9 percent, according to the same forecasts.