Toyota’s U.S. sales chief Bob Carter said new car sales in the U.S. could hit 17 million units in 2019.

The auto industry in the United States could chalk up another year of 17 million sales this year, Bob Carter, Toyota Motor North America vice president of sales said during an appearance in Detroit.

Carter noted during remarks at holiday reception that Toyota was cautious about 2019. Going into the year, Toyota prepared for a modest decline in sales to about 16.7 million sales this year and the year did start slowly. But it has gradually improved throughout the summer and fall, and Toyota kept raising its sales estimate.

Depending on the final results from December, it looks have if the industry is on track to finish a year just short of the all-time record. Carter said Toyota also expects another good year in 2020 and expects sales of around 16.7 million units.

(Toyota riding wave of new product launches)

“We’re going to set up for 2020 just like we did this year,” he said. Underscoring Toyota’s confidence is the fact that the automaker will be introducing 10 new or refreshed models during the next 12 months and 31 new or refreshed models in the next 36 months.

Toyota’s defied the odds, enjoying positive sales in the U.S. Officials expect U.S. sales to hit 17 million units.

“We’re bullish on the industry. We’re bullish on the economy and we’re bullish on our ability,” Carter said.

Meanwhile, the chances of a recession in the U.S. appear to have receded despite the pressure on the global economy brought on by uncertainty about trade and tariffs, Elaine Buckberg, General Motors’ corporate economist, said during a recent conference for suppliers.

(Toyota primes the market for new RAV4 plug-in hybrid)

New-vehicle sales in the U.S. have held steady this year and are expected to total 16.9 million units, Buckberg said, adding, “The economy in the U.S. is solid.”

Thanks to a robust labor market, she says, “People know they can go find another job,” which has helped lift consumer confidence.

U.S. new vehicle sales were down 2% through the first half of the year.

Nevertheless, car sales around the world are expected to see their steepest year-over-year decline in 2019 since the financial crisis as consumer demand from the U.S. to China softens.

(Toyota earnings exceed industry forecasts)

Global car sales are expected to fall by about 3.1 million in 2019, a bigger drop than in 2008, Fitch Ratings economics team said this week, citing data collected by the International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. The slowdown in auto sales is contributing to a drag on global manufacturing, Fitch said.

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