US auto sales in April are expected to rise 2.2 percent from a year earlier. According to Edmunds, 1, 181,929 new vehicles will be sold in April.

The projected sales would be a 15.8 percent decrease from March 2012 but a 2.1 percent increase (unadjusted for number of sales days) over April 2011.

“Higher consumer confidence, as well as warmer winter weather and strong fleet sales have spurred sales strength so far this year,” said Chief Economist Lacey Plache.

“We can expect the auto sales rate to stay elevated through most of the rest of the year, even as downside risks–like political and fiscal uncertainty in the U.S. and slowing economies in Europe and China–continue to loom.”

However, the U.S. economic recovery slowed in the first three months of the year, with growth falling to an annual rate of 2.2 percent, the Commerce Department said Friday. The data was also lower than the 2.5% rate economists had been expecting.

Businesses also cut back on investment. The only plus side to Friday’s numbers were that consumers spent at the fastest pace in more than a year. Personal consumption expenditures rose 2.9% during the quarter – the best gain since the fourth quarter of 2010.


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