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US car sales jump, bumper 2011 predicted

US car sales jump, bumper 2011 predicted
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Americans are getting back on the road and carmakers there are gearing up for a bumper year.

US car sales rose to the highest rate in 16 months in December.

For all of last year the number of vehicles sold was up 11 percent, the first increase in four years.

General Motors’ December sales rose 7.5 percent from a year earlier.

Chrysler, which like GM had to be saved from bankruptcy by the government, saw sales rise 16 percent in the month.

Major car makers, including Ford – which enjoyed a 6.7 percent sales boost in December – expect more than 13 million vehicles could be sold this year.

Analysts said that estimate could prove conservative if the momentum of recent months continues.

The year’s biggest loser was Toyota. Struggling with the aftermath of recalls due to safety issues, Toyota posted a sales decline of almost six percent in December.

For the whole year, sales were little changed from 2009, though it did manage to sell more Prius hybrids.