DETROIT (

TheStreet

) --

Ford

(F) - Get Report

and

General Motors

both say 2010 vehicle sales will increase by 2 million to 12.5 million.

An improving economy likely means that consumers who have put off new car purchases will return to the market, the automakers say.

Speaking at a deal roundtablein Novi, Mich., GM Vice President Brent Dewaralso projected U.S. vehicle sales of 10.5 million this year,

The Associated Press

reported. The number is consistent with projections in GM's viability plan.

Ford sales analyst George Pipas concurred, saying "That's been our forecast for quite some time." Specifically, Ford projects 2009 sales of 10.5 million to 11 million as well as sales of 12.5 million next year.

Both automakers will report August sales on Tuesday. Pipas acknowledged the Cash for Clunkers program led to a sales spike in August that "will not be replicated for some time.

" We knew it was temporary," he said. "It is now over and we are ready to take advantage of opportunities going forward into September and October, when we will be launching great new products."

Pipas said Ford produced a 14.4% share of the Cash for Clunkers sales, above its 13% retail market share in July. "It's a bit of a surprise that a Detroit automaker could do so well," he said "We did better than we were doing before the program began."

Dewar said August sales for the Chevrolet brand were strong but there will be a payback in September because the Cash for Clunkers program pulled sales forward from later in the year, the

AP

reported.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

.