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U.S. Light Vehicles Expected to Grow 10.2 Percent in 2010

January 12, 2010

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — U.S. light vehicle sales could reach 11.5 million units this year if the nation’s real gross domestic product (GDP) hits 2.9 percent, according to a forecast by R.L. Polk & Co.

“We believe wealth accumulation and improving consumer confidence added to GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2009 and we see slow but steady GDP growth in 2010,” said Dave Goebel, North American forecast consultant for Polk. Polk’s forecast for Real GDP U.S. growth in 2010 is 2.9 percent.

Light vehicle sales in 2009 were 10.4 million, the lowest level in 27 years, and 21.2 percent lower than 2008.

Polk’s analysis indicates that the U.S. economy is in a recovery; however, risks to the pace of economic growth remain. As government stimulus programs end, consumers must have confidence to continue spending and businesses need to invest and hire, otherwise the economic recovery could slow in 2010.

“We are encouraged by a light vehicle industry SAAR above 10 million for three consecutive months and record low inventories at dealerships. While industry levels remain far below their normal levels, there seems to be some momentum out there,” Goebel said.

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