×

GM's Mary Barra: Automakers can maintain pace of vehicle sales

The auto industry can continue selling more than 17 million cars a year as the U.S. economy and consumer remain strong, General Motors CEO Mary Barra said in an interview that aired Friday.

Automakers sold about 17.5 million cars in the United States last year, though some industry watchers worry vehicle manufacturers will struggle to keep up the pace.

However, Barra sees no trouble on the horizon.

"Barring anything external or macro, we see this kind of mid-17 [million] going for a few years," Barra told CNBC on the sidelines of the Wired Business Conference in New York.

Persistently low interest rates are also underpinning demand for vehicles, she said in the interview Thursday.

Still, GM is aiming to keep a disciplined level of inventories, maintain an investment-grade balance sheet and improve the quality of its retail sales to hedge against the possibility of economic downturn.

"The first thing that happens when the market starts to decline is all that inventory unwinds, and it happens pretty quickly," she said. "We can't predict when it's going to happen, but we can be ready."

Sign Up for Our Newsletter Morning Squawk

CNBC's before the bell news roundup
Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about about our products and services.
By signing up for newsletters, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.