The outlook for U.S. light vehicle sales is beginning to improve, according to a R. L. Polk & Company analysis. Polk estimates new light vehicle sales in 2010 will be up 9.6% when compared to a disastrous 2009, with third quarter 2010 sales estimated to be the strongest, at an anticipated 28% of the annual total.
Polk claims the bottoming out of the housing market, a reversal in the decline of home prices, expansion in manufacturing, and improved consumer sentiment indicate positive signs that an economic recovery is underway.
The prediction seems optimistic in the face of 10% unemployment rates, the highest in three decades as businesses continue to cut back in what is shaping up to be a jobless recovery.
Based on what Polk sees as improving economic conditions, it has increased its 2010 light vehicle sales forecast slightly to 11.2 million units from 10.8 million previously forecast.
September 2009 light vehicle sales declined to 745,000 new units when compared with robust August sales of 1.26 million units as the result of the “Cash for Clunkers” program. Once the program ended, inventories were down and showroom traffic dropped.