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Auto expert: U.S. auto sales will top 17 million again by 2015


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Auto expert: U.S. auto sales will top 17 million again by 2015

BY BRENT SNAVELY

FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

U.S. automotive industry sales could top 17 million by 2015, Michael Robinet, director of global production forecasts for researcher IHS Automotive, said today.

That would be a huge reversal from the historically low sales levels that brought the industry to its knees during the recent recession.

The last time industry sales exceeded 17 million was in 2001.

This year, experts expect total sales will come in at about 11.5 million, or about 1.1 more million than the industry total for 2009.

Robinet, who made his remarks during a presentation to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit, said he expects pent-up demand, combined with a growing U.S. population and aging baby boomers with discretionary income, will cause sales to increase in the coming years.

He expects sales will exceed 12.8 million next year and 16 million in 2013 before reaching 17 million in 2015.

"We are pretty confident... We looked at where this market could go in terms of the number of new drivers coming into the market and the number of older vehicles that could be replaced," Robinet said.

Over the next 10 years, the U.S. driving population is expected to increase by an annual average of 9%, or by 25 million, according to IHS Automotive.

The one wild card, Robinet said, is gas and oil prices. High gas prices over an extended period of time could suppress vehicle sales.

Read more: Auto expert: U.S. auto sales will top 17 million again by 2015 | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20101202/BUSINESS01/101202075/Auto-expert-U.S.-auto-sales-will-top-17-million-again-by-2015#ixzz170XiWhi0

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