General Motors Company is trading higher today after CEO Mary Barra stated that the Chevrolet brand is well-positioned to attract new customers in 2015. GM was up more than 1% to $36.26 per share at the time of this writing around11:17 A.M. in New York.

GM CEO: Chevrolet Well-Positioned to Attract New Customer; Shares Up

GM expects U.S. auto industry to sell 17 million light vehicles

In a statement, Ms. Barra said the auto industry in the United States is expected to sell 16.5 million to 17 million light vehicles in 2015.

Ms. Barra said, “The U.S. economy and vehicle sales have been rebounding since 2009, and we believe there is still plenty of room for the auto industry to grow.”

She added that consumers are “feeling pretty good about the future” given the strength of the labor market, better job security and the recovery of home prices.

According to her, GM’s management is anticipating that people will continue to replace their older cars and trucks. Ms. Barra further stated that the declining fuel prices and rising incomes should add consumer confidence.

Last year, the auto industry shipped 16.5 million light vehicles, and it was 2001 when the industry sales reached 17 million units.

GM sees return of younger, first-time buyers to the market

One of the most important changes GM sees is the return of younger and first-time buyers to the market. The automaker believes that the strong real GDP will create new job opportunities this year.

GM estimated that the U.S. economy will create as much as 200,000 new jobs per month, which would drive labor force participation and better job prospects for recent college graduates.

GM said its view regarding the labor market is supported by third-party studies including the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The Job Outlook 2015 report of the association indicated that employers plan to hire 8.3% more new college graduates from the Class of 2015 for their U.S. operations.

“A growing jobs market and new vehicles that exceed expectations for fuel economy and high technology are the best ways to rekindle the love affair America’s youth have historically had with cars and trucks,” said Ms. Barra.

GM is confident that the Chevrolet brand is in a strong position to attract new customers this year. The brand re-entered the mid-size pick-up segment with the Colorado model. Chevrolet also launched seven small cars and crossovers over the past four years.

GM said Chevrolet’s Spark, Sonic and Cruze models recorded best-ever annual sales in 2014.

GM said the Trax model started arriving in showrooms last December. It is a small SUV with five seating capacity, all-wheel drive and EPA-estimated fuel economy of up to 32 mpg on the highway. The vehicle offers 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and Siri Eyes Free control of the audio system with compatible smart phones.