That U.S. light-vehicle sales ended 2004 with a boom month was no surprise. What was unexpected is that they came in with the highest annual rate for any month in more than three years, thanks to an apparent burst in incentives by major foreign auto makers. December sales rewrote the record for the month by yielding an 18.3 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), highest since October 2001’s 21.7 million – the any-month high – and well above year-ago’s strong 17.4 million.(See ...

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