Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, has struck an upbeat tone on the outlook for overall vehicle sales this year in North America and Europe.

"Everyone is below the reality," Ghosn said at a New York International Auto show breakfast. "I think the market will be stronger than forecast - both in Europe and in the United States."

He predicted US light vehicle sales will rise around 2% this year, taking the market to a new record after hitting a record close to 17.5m units in 2015. LMC Automotive forecasts the US light vehicle market to rise to 17.8m units in 2016.

Forecasts for Western European car sales in 2016 have tended to be cautious given the low-growth projections for Europe's economy. LMC forecasts that the West European car market will grow by 5.3% to 13.88m units this year and admitted that its forecast 'is on the cautious side'. Car sales in Western Europe grew by 9% in 2015 to 13.2m units, helped by strong rebounds in southern Europe's depleted markets.

Earlier this year, the European carmakers trade association ACEA said that it forecasts European car sales to rise by just 2% in 2016. In February Europe's car market was up by almost 14%.