FULL-YEAR car sales figures, due later this week, are also expected to show that China has overtaken the US as the world's biggest car market.
The figures would cap a turbulent year for an industry that saw some manufacturers collapse into bankruptcy and new alliances and takeovers being pursued in an effort to survive.
Figures due later this week are expected to show auto sales in China last year jumped 44percent to 13,5 million vehicles, overtaking the US market, according to the average forecast of five analysts polled by Reuters.
US auto sales are expected to show a slight uptick in December and point to a gradual recovery in 2010. Major markets saw sales rise in 2009 as a whole after various governments introduced cash incentives for drivers to trade in old cars for new, but prospects for 2010 are less certain as subsidies start to dwindle or in some cases stop.
Car sales in France and Spain rose strongly in December, data showed on Monday, as drivers flocked to take advantage of vehicle trade-in schemes.
But French carmakers' association CCFA said on Monday that new car sales in France surged 48,6percent in December to 228451 vehicles as motorists flocked to take advantage of a scrappage scheme before it was cut back at the end of the year. - Reuters