U.S. new vehicle sales in 2018 rise slightly to 17.27 million

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DETROIT (AP) (1/3/2019) - Sales of new vehicles in the U.S. rose slightly in 2018, defying predictions and highlighting a strong economy.

Automakers reported an increase of 0.3 percent over a year ago to 17.27 million vehicles.

The increase came despite rising interest rates, a volatile stock market, and rising car and truck prices that pushed some buyers out of the new-vehicle market.

Industry analysts and automakers said strong economic fundamentals pushed up the sales and should keep them near historic highs in 2019.

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