Ford new car lot

Bloomberg reports that if U.S. auto sales continue at their current pace, 2012 will mark the best year for the industry since 2007. The news comes after word that both Ford and Chrysler have slimmed or entirely eliminated the traditional summer shutdown at their manufacturing facilities to keep pace with demand.

All told, sales may reach 14.3 million cars and light trucks, according to analysts, thanks to factors like a gradually improving economy and easier credit. If the pace continues, 2012 will mark the third year of 10-percent gains, which marks only the fourth time that's happened since the Great Depression.

Car sales stalled in 2008, and 2009 saw manufacturers move just 10.4 million units. As Bloomberg points out, that's the lowest number since 1982, but buyers took home 11.6 million vehicles in 2010 and 12.8 million in 2011. The industry saw a 10.3-percent increase through the first four months of this year. As a result, General Motors, Ford and Toyota have adjusted their yearly sales forecasts accordingly.