The Chrysler unit of DaimlerChrysler, which forecast a $US1.2 billion second-quarter loss because of high rebate costs, sees signs that the industry’s need for discounts has peaked, Joe Eberhardt, the top Chrysler sales executive told Bloomberg News.

The number of people shopping for cars may be rising after several years of declines, and more buyers would mean fewer of the rebates and low-interest loans needed to spur sales, Eberhardt told the news agency in an interview at Chrysler’s Auburn Hills headquarters.

“We might have seen the bottom,” he reportedly said. “Maybe there is an uptick in the next couple of months, but we’ve been there before when we thought there was an uptick.”

Bloomberg News noted that Chrysler needs to increase sales to meet CEO Dieter Zetsche’s revised goal of a “slight” profit this year, down from his original prediction of a $2 billion operating profit this year.

The percentage of consumers who say they’re shopping for a new car has fallen during the last several years to about 2.5% from about 5% and that decline may have bottomed out, Eberhardt told Bloomberg News.