DETROIT -- U.S. new-car sales could hit 14.5 million this year, a hike of 13 percent from 2011, as an improving economy makes consumers more confident about buying cars, industry consultants J.D. Power and LMC Automotive said Thursday.
Previously, the consultants forecast annual sales of 14.3 million. In 2011, Americans bought 12.8 million cars and trucks.
J.D. Power and LMC also predicted light-vehicle sales in May would rise 21 percent to 1.38 million, when adjusted for more selling days this month than in May, 2011.
May, 2011, sales suffered because of the earthquake in Japan.