February 27, 2009

Auto sales near bottom, experts say

Leading automobile industry analysts said the U.S. sales figures were close to the bottom and could rise in the next few months.

We believe we are nearing the bottom, Jeff Schuster, who heads global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates, told USA Today.

The industry research firm recently downgraded its 2009 sales forecast from 11.4 million vehicles to 10.4 million. Powers also noted it had previously declared December would be the bottom of the barrel.

Schuster's new prediction is for February or March to be the low point, he said.

Auto sales analyst Jesse Toprak at Edmunds.com, said the industry was dancing around its low point, USA Today said.

On an annual basis, February's sales are expected to come in at 9.1 million to 9.3 million, the newspaper said. That's a slight increase above Powers' forecast a week ago and less than the 9.6 million vehicles Autodata said was the annualized figure of vehicles sold in January.