When automakers close the books on 2011 tomorrow, they’re expected to not only show a moderate gain of about 10% for the year but, more importantly, provide a clear indication that car sales are on an upswing.
Housing sales may still be struggling and the jobs market still in the doldrums but two years after the worst automotive downturn since the Great Depression the cash registers are ringing loud at the nation’s car dealers. Most forecasters now see demand surging from about 12.7 million vehicles this year to anywhere from 13.8 to more than 14 million for 2012.
And the trendline is pointing in the right direction in almost every major market worldwide, suggests a new study by the Detroit-based research firm Polk. Its new global automotive forecast foresees worldwide sales of 77.7 million vehicles in 2012, a 6.7% jump from last year.
“We’ve been recovering a lot faster than many people expected just two years ago,” says automotive analyst Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting.