Data and market analyst firm RL Polk & Co is forecasting a return to a 15m unit US light vehicle market in 2013.

Anticipating a U-shaped recovery for the US light vehicle market, Polk's forecast indicates a return to more normal levels of activity by 2013.

In addition to the forecast, Polk expects the market share for Japanese brands to stabilise, reaching 40.1% in 2013, which is similar to their current market share.

"We also expect a more even split between passenger cars and light trucks, with passenger car volume reaching 8.3 million units," said Dave Goebel, North American forecast consultant for Polk.

Polk's outlook also reveals implications for vehicle repair demand. By 2011, there will be 10m fewer vehicles in operation under four years of age.

Noted Uwe Biastoch, director of global forecasting for Polk: "This will undoubtedly have consequences for the OEM service network which may offer opportunities for the independent aftermarket if they take more aggressive action."