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2. United States

2011 sales forecast: 12.6 million
2010 vehicles sold: 11.5 million
Estimated growth: 8.7%

America’s dominance of the global auto industry came to an end in 2009 when China overtook the country to become the world’s largest auto market. During the 2008-2009 crisis, two of the big three automakers — General Motors and Chrysler had to seek government bailouts. Sales in 2009 slumped to their lowest levels in 27 years.

But since then the market has rebounded with sales rising to 11.5 million in 2010 and they’re forecasted to rise to 12.6 million this year.

Americans have generally stayed true to their gas-guzzling ways in recent years. Subcompact cars accounted for only 3 percent of sales in 2010, while mid-size vehicles made up nearly 28 percent and SUVs and pickup trucks accounted for over 20 percent of sales in the same period. The top selling car in the U.S. is the Camry, with Toyota selling 337,000 units last year, while the Ford F-Series truck came a close second at 313,000 units.

Photo: Getty Images