As expected, heavy holiday promotions at the end of December lifted U.S. light-vehicle sales above the month’s forecast and ensured 2016 would be the best year on record. December’s seasonally adjusted annual rate soared to 18.3 million units, highest for any month since July 2005’s 20.6 million. It also was well above year-ago’s 17.4 million and November’s 17.8 million. With dealers sitting on bloated inventory, the primary reasons for December’s ...

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