Global automobile sales are expected to top 80 million units in 2012 and 118 million units in 2020, according to industry tracking firm JD Power & Associates.

The continuation of the strong performance in the retail market through December may be the confirmation that the industry has been looking for that the recovery has been re-engaged, said Executive Director of Global Forecasting and Product Analysis at J.D. Power and Associates .

The likelihood of an extension of the tax cuts, in addition to a strong close in 2010, bodes well for the automotive market in 2011.

JD Power also stated total light-vehicle sales for December are expected to come in at 1,133,000 units, which is 14 percent higher than December 2009. Fleet sales are projected to decrease in December, with volume expected below 200,000 units-down 3 percent from December 2009. Fleet share of total sales in December is expected to be at 17 percent, the lowest level all year.

The firm estimates US sales of 12.8 million units next year, with deliveries exceeding 15 million in 2012 and 16 million in 2014.