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Auto Industry Likely to End Year with Strong Sales

Preliminary signs suggest year-end buying surge.

by on Dec.23, 2011

Christmas shoppers will put plenty of cars under the tree this year.

The auto industry has been doing much of the heavy lifting, in recent months, helping fuel a late-2011 surge in the economy and it looks like the car market’s recovery from its worst downturn since the Great Depression is continuing into the year-end holidays.

In fact, December is on track to be the strongest month of the year, an unusual development as American consumers typically focus their spending on smaller presents they can pile up under the tree.

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But if preliminary reports hold true for the month as a whole, December could see retail U.S. car sales surge past the 1 million mark for the first time since the 2009 Cash for Clunkers program, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

“The industry has managed through another series of external shocks and is in a healthier position as the year closes,” said John Humphrey, Power’s senior vice president of global automotive operations.