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Automakers miss the mark but 2013 flirts with pre-recession peaks

The top four automakers in the U.S. market missed December sales expectations, but 2013 will still easily be the best year for the industry since before the recession.

General Motors said that the U.S. auto industry will have December U.S. auto sales at a 15.6 million-vehicle annualized selling rate, well below the 16 million vehicles expected by 27 economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

(Read more: GM caps busy week by naming Barra as new chief)

The late December holiday season is generally one of the heaviest sales periods at U.S. auto dealerships.

2014 Chrysler 300 SRT8Image Source: Chrysler

Sales that may have occurred in December were pulled ahead to November because of a late-month, four-day Thanksgiving weekend, said John Felice, head of sales at Ford

(Read more: The road ahead: Luxury booms and incentives soar)

December auto sales were also hampered by snowy and icy weather over parts of the country late in the month, said Chrysler spokesman Ralph Kisiel.

Each month, auto sales are seen as an early indicator of consumer spending.

For all of 2013, U.S. auto sales are expected to finish near 15.6 million vehicles, up about 8 percent.


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