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J.D. Power report: 2011 auto sales expected to set a record

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Feb. 16, 2011 — Worldwide sales of light vehicles are projected to set a record this year with 76.5 million sold, according to a recent report from J.D. Power and Associates.

The current record of 72 million light-vehicle sales was set last year. The previous record, 70 million vehicles, was set in 2007.

“Overall growth in the world economy has been supporting further recovery in auto sales,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates. “We’re seeing signals of stability and increased consumer demand for new vehicles as economic optimism increases.”

Sales in North America this year are expected to climb 11 percent higher than last year, to 15.5 million units. Sales in the U.S. alone are projected to reach 13 million units, an increase of 12 percent over last year.

North America, South America and Asia all saw sales growth in 2010, the report said. Western Europe did not, in part because of government-sponsored vehicle-scrappage programs that expired last year.

Emerging auto markets accounted for more than half of global light-vehicle sales, which J.D. Power and Associates said signals a power shift in the global automotive market that has been taking place during the past five years. That shift is expected to continue through this year.

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