U.S. Auto Sales See Best Year Since 2007 image

Since the Great Depression the U.S. auto sales have been continuously recovering reaching the third year of at least 10% gain and the best showing since 2007.

Sales for 2012 are expected to reach 14.3 million units, the best full year since 2007 when 16.1 million vehicles were sold. In January analysts estimated sales will reach 13.6 million units this year, before Toyota and other automakers exceeded projections.

“Even if we stay where we are, it’s a pretty good year,” said Brian Johnson, an industry analyst at Barclays Capital in Chicago.

Improving economy, increased demand and loosening credit have helped the estimated sales to spur and gave GM, Ford and Chrysler the possibility to gain first quarter profits higher than analysts’ forecasts. This year first quarter deliveries in the States have been the strongest since 2008 when sales reached 15.4 million before collapsing to a full-year 13.2 million.

2009 was the U.S. year with the lowest sales (10.4 million) since the recession in 1982. In 2010 sales improved to 11.6 million and in 2011 to 12.8 million.

“Part of the renaissance is related to the depths of the downturn” that led to the bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler”, said Matt Stover, an industry analyst at Guggenheim Partners in New York. “There is pent-up demand and the cyclical indicators, while still weak, are grudgingly positive and improving.”