DETROIT -- U.S. autos sales may rise nearly 15 percent to 11.5 million units next year, an industry forecaster predicts.
"We do see the credit market is a little better. The financial market is stabilizing. Consumer confidence is edging along," Gary Dilts, senior vice president at J.D. Power and Associates, told Reuters.
"We're pretty confident that unless something really goes wrong, 2010 is going to be a million or a million and half units better than this year."
The forecast for a modest recovery in 2010 comes while the industry is increasing output in the belief that the worst of the current downturn has passed.
J.D. Power had projected U.S. light-vehicle sales of 10 million units for 2009, down sharply from 13.2 million units last year and 16.2 million units in 2007.
Dilts said the industry forecasting firm may raise its outlook for 2009 U.S. industry sales by 200,000 units because of cash-for-clunker incentives.
The government program helped boost July auto sales to the highest annualized rate of 2009, sparking optimism that the market had hit bottom.
Congress authorized another $2 billion for the program after the $1 billion funding vanished quickly.