New-vehicle sales rose 10 percent in 2011 to 12,778,885, according to the trade publication Automotive News. That was nearly 1.2 million more than in 2010 and the best year since 2007, when the industry sold 16.2 million and before the country plunged into the Deep Recession.
Trucks of all types — SUVs, pickups and minivans — nosed ahead of cars in total sales in 2011, with 6.4 million trucks going out the door, compared with 6.38 million cars. The continued popularity of crossover SUVs (which are based on cars) helped trucks regain the upper hand.
In January, most industry forecasters predicted sales would grow to 13.5 million to 14 million in 2012, but surprisingly strong results in January and February could prompt some to increase their sales forecasts.
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