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GM CEO Sees Strong 2015 For US Auto Industry

GM CEO 010915

General Motors Co. (GM) Chief Executive Mary Barra, Thursday said the automotive giant sees a strong year for US car sales moving ahead and expects 2015 sales to be the best year since 2001.

Barra expects the improving economy, stronger job market, new models, younger buyers and lower gas prices to contribute to sales growth in 2015. Barra was talking to journalists on Thursday, the eve of Detroit's North American International Auto Show.

Barra said that the U.S. economy and auto sales have been rebounding since 2009, which indicates still plenty of room for the auto industry to grow.

GM expects light vehicle sales in the U.S. to reach a range of 16.5 million to 17.0 million units in 2015. The last time industry sales reached 17 million units was in 2001. The industry delivered 16.5 million light vehicles last year.

"The strength of the labor market, better job security and the recovery in home prices have consumers feeling pretty good about the future, so we expect people will continue to replace their older cars and trucks. The recent sharp drop in fuel prices and rising incomes should only add to their confidence," Barra said in a statement.

"The most important change we see coming is the return of younger and first-time buyers to the market," Barra added.

The year 2015 is expected to be a pivotal one for the auto giant as well as for Barra after a nightmarish 2014, when the company issued more than 80 separate recalls that covered about 30 million vehicles including the faulty ignition-switch recall and linked to about 42 deaths.

GM is currently trading at $35.85, down $0.35 or 0.97%, on the NYSE.

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