Auto/Economy
3:59 pm
Mon January 3, 2011

Auto sales expected to maintain momentum

December auto sales numbers are due tomorrow. It’s expected to be another good month for Detroit’s automakers. 

After watching auto sales dwindle in the depths of the recession, auto companies have seen a surge in buying demand in recent months.  December is expected to be the third straight month of strong domestic auto sales.

Morningstar Financial senior equity analyst Dave Whiston predicts the data will show sales topped 12 million vehicles in 2010.    He says the reason is simple.

 “You can’t go to AutoZone or Pep Boys forever.   Eventually you need to buy a new vehicle.” 

Whiston says the improving national economy could push vehicle sales to 13 million cars and trucks in 2011. But there is one dark cloud on the horizon for GM, Ford and Chrysler. Detroit’s automakers rely heavily on truck sales.   Whiston says if gasoline prices do reach 4 dollars a gallon as predicted that might divert demand to high mileage imports.