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Lower New Jersey Gas Prices Aiding in Car Sales; Fiat Chrystler, GM Post Strong 2014 Gains

Woodcliff Lakes

By David Welch and Mark Clothier

Automakers and analysts project that sales will rise again in 2015 for an unprecedented sixth straight year as the strengthening job market, available credit and the lowest gasoline prices in more than half a decade bolstered consumer confidence. Light-vehicle sales may total 16.7 million, Toyota Motor Corp. said on a conference call, adding that there’s “room for upside” to that forecast.

Dealers last month sold 1.51 million cars and light trucks, according to the Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey-based researcher. That topped the 1.5 million predicted by the average of seven analysts’ estimates. The full-year total was 16.5 million, 58 percent more than in 2009, when General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC restructured in bankruptcy. Light-vehicle sales in the U.S. averaged 16.8 million from 2000 to 2007. The record, set in 2000, was 17.4 million.

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