GM 2010 Sales Rise 6.3 Percent on Strong Lineup

By Tom Krisher | January 4, 2011 | 11:53 AM EST

In this Dec. 30, 2010 photo, George and Sheila Snyder, of Washington, Vt., take delivery of their new 2011 Ford Escape from salesman John Cassel, right, at the Formula Ford dealership showroom in Montpelier, Vt. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

Detroit (AP) - U.S. sales of General Motors cars and trucks rose 6.3 percent last year as a strong lineup of new models helped the company make a comeback from its 2009 bankruptcy.

GM sold 2.2 million cars and trucks in 2010, nearly 131,000 more than the prior year, even though it got rid of four brands to focus on Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC.

The sales increase lagged expectations for the industry. Analysts expect that overall sales last year rose 11 percent as the economy slowly recovered and Americans felt more comfortable taking on hefty car payments.

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 five people. Equinox sales rose 80 percent.

For the year, the number of cars, SUVs and pickups sold in the U.S. will rise to 11.5 million, said analyst Jesse Toprak. In 2009, sales notched their worst performance since 1982 at 10.4 million. Sales reached 16.1 million in 2007, the final year before the Great Recession took hold.