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U.S. auto demand roared ahead in July thanks to healthy summer sales incentives, with top auto makers posting near double-digit increases over last year on top of already-high levels in the U.S. Car makers sold 1.435 million vehicles in the U.S. last month, up 9.1% from a year earlier and lifting the seasonally-adjusted annualized selling rate to 16.48 million, from 15.76 million vehicles in 2013, according to researcher Autodata Corp. New car sales have been a bright spot for Fiat and the U.S. economy in recent years. Some analysts believe the industry is near its peak for normal demand following deep declines in 2008 and 2009. The National Automobile Dealers Association said demand may continue to rise. “There is a lot of upside potential for new-vehicle sales during the final five months of the year,” said Steven Szakaly, NADA’s chief economist. “We’ve had an agonizingly slow recovery that has in many ways been led by the automotive sector, but the overall economy is finally picking up,” he said. “The housing market is stronger, gasoline prices have been relatively stable and interest rates—while rising recently—are still low compared to historical levels.” Mr. Szakaly predicts 2014 sales of 16.4 million new vehicles, and rising to 16.8 million vehicles in 2015.
Source: The Wall Street Journal