US auto sales near record highs in 2016

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DETROIT (AP) — Demand may be slowing, but U.S. consumers still bought a whole lot of cars and trucks in 2016.

U.S. sales of new vehicles could hit a new high in 2016. Consulting firm LMC Automotive and car-buying site Edmunds.com both predict sales will squeak past the record set last year and reach 17.5 million in 2016.

General Motors Co. said its full-year sales were down 1.3 percent to just over 3 million cars and trucks. That was partly because the company cut back on low-profit sales to rental-car firms.

Other automakers report December and full-year sales later Wednesday.

LMC expects sales to be up 1.4 percent in December compared with a year ago, with total sales of just over 1.6 million vehicles. GM’s sales were up 10 percent for the month.

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