Sales for Detroit Automakers Rose in 2010

FILE: American flags fly outside General Motors world headquarters in Detroit.

FILE: American flags fly outside General Motors world headquarters in Detroit.  (AP)

Michigan can breathe a small sigh of relief, as all three of the major U.S. automakers posted sales gains for 2010 and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

General Motors says sales of cars and trucks in the U.S. rose 6.3 percent last year as a strong line-up of new models helped the company make a comeback from its 2009 bankruptcy.

GM says it sold 2.2 million cars and trucks, even though it got rid of four brands to focus on Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC.

Industry analysts expect overall sales for the industry to rise 10 percent for the year. Consumers are buying again as the economy slowly recovers.

GM is the first of the major car companies to report year-end U.S. sales on Tuesday.

The company's December sales rose 7.5 percent because of hot sellers such as the Chevrolet Equinox, a smaller SUV that seats about five people.

Ford also reported a full year increase of 15 percent over 2009, driven by strong sales of its midsize sedans and crossovers, as well as the F-150 full-size pickup truck, which continued its streak as the best selling vehicle in America.

The sales improved Ford's overall share of the market for the second year in a row, marking the first back to back increase for the automaker since 1993.

But it was beleaguered Chrysler that saw the biggest gains in 2010, with sales rising 17 percent across the company's four brands. Large fleet sales, along with the popular Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram pickup trucks helped the smallest of Detroit's Big Three automakers turn things around in dramatic fashion after its brush with insolvency last year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.