BY Associated Press
Thursday, January 03, 2013
1/03/13 at 2:43 AM
Strong auto sales forecast for 2013
A healthier economy and more model introductions should push U.S. auto sales above 15 million this year, the Polk industry research firm predicts.
Polk says auto sales should continue to lead the country's economic recovery, rising nearly 7 percent over 2012 to 15.3 million new vehicles.
Automakers release December and full-year sales for 2012 on Thursday. Analysts think sales reached 14.5 million last year, the strongest performance since 2007 - just before Americans felt the impact of the recession. Sales of more than 15 million are considered a sign of health for the auto industry and the economy.
Polk does not expect pre-recession sales levels of 17 million for several more years.
The firm expects 43 new models to be introduced this year, up 50 percent from 2012. New models usually boost sales. The company also predicts a rebound in sales of large pickups and midsize cars.