Contra  Jesse Toprak, of the apparent rise in US auto sales looks about right to me. Via Marketwatch analyst Jesse Toprak called the results counterintuitive, and said the overall numbers are shaping up to beat his relatively lofty targets.

”Housing and stock markets are still suffering, consumer confidence is down and gas prices are moving higher,” he commented. “That’s usually disastrous, but clearly the pent-up demand is there.”

General Motors Co. GM -2.11%  on Monday posted a 19.8% surge in U.S. sales last month to 207,145 cars and trucks. The Detroit car maker said retail sales jumped 19% to account for 74% of the total sales volume.

What made me expect increasing sales was the BLS reports indicating increases in used car prices. Basically, the US has a rolling stock of autos. What you want to know is how tight that rolling stock is. Is there slack, are there cars sitting around which could be used but aren’t etc.

Used car prices tell you that. When they started rising in the mid single digits that was a sign that the rolling stock was finally starting to tighten. And, not unsurprisingly. The currently low new car sales rate was causing the vehicle fleet to age rapidly.

So, as consumers lose the opportunity to buy used cars, this pushes them into the new car market.

All that having been said the final word isn’t out and no one yet thinks we are hitting new auto sales highs. Still, the fundamentals look like accelerating sales through the end of 2011.

UPDATE: Calculated Risk reports the final SAAR rate at 13.1Million. A complete recovery from the tsunami.