January US auto sales expected to rise only a little

DETROIT (AP) — January U.S. auto sales are expected to grow just a little as rebates and other deals wane after a December buying spree.

Cox Automotive and J.D. Power are predicting that sales will rise around 1 percent to roughly 1.15 million vehicles.

But Thursday morning Ford posted a 6.6 percent sales decline and Toyota says its sales rose 16.8 percent.

Cox predicted that automakers would cut back on rebates and other incentives after raising them in December for year-end clearance sales. But Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough says low unemployment, strong consumer confidence and the federal tax reform should keep sales strong this year.

He’s forecasting full-year sales of 16.7 million, about 400,000 less than last year.

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