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December sales end 2010 with a bang

January 7, 2011
Light-vehicle sales gained in December, closing the year at 11.6 million units and carrying momentum into a 2011 that is forecast to expand a sluggish recovery.
Automakers sold 1,144,840 units last month, up 11 percent from a year earlier, and eclipsing May’s 1,103,084 sales as 2010’s best month.
Over the past decade, December is on average the fourth strongest sales month of the year, but sales momentum built gradually in 2010 after demand plunged to a 27-year low of 10.4 million in 2009.
December boasted a seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 12.6, as measured by Autodata Corp, making it the third straight month above 12 million and the highest SAAR since the U.S. cash-for-clunkers incentive in summer 2009.
Among the year-end highlights:
• The Toyota Camry was the best-selling car in the U.S. market, grabbing the prize for the ninth straight year. The No. 2 seller, the Honda Accord, last topped the list in 2001.
• The Chrysler Town & Country recaptured the U.S. minivan sales crown, outselling the Honda Odyssey 112,275 to 108,182 last year.