Auto dealers are optimistic about vehicle sales for the coming year, according to a recent survey by Ally Financial. The figures reflect recent improvements in the U.S. auto market, which up until very recently had been marred by low demand, debt and overseas competition. The survey, which was conducted at the 2012 National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention, found nearly half of dealers expect sales to increase by 10-20 percent in 2012. Nearly a third even expect sales to grow by more than that. Roughly 75 percent see gains in consumer sentiment as driving the uptick in auto sales - both projected and documented. Dealers also reported noting improvements in consumer credit profiles (60 percent). Finally, slightly more than half of respondents see the small-vehicle segment to boast the most growth in 2012. "Given improved consumer confidence, full year sales for 2012 could surpass the 14 million unit level in the U.S. and position the industry for even greater growth in 2013," said Tim Russi, Ally executive vice president of North American Auto Operations. "This could factor into dealer decisions on facilities, hiring and ordering."