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February 1, 2013

Auto makers post strong sales in January

Auto sales kept on rolling in January.

The world's major car makers reported strong U.S. sales for the month of January on Friday, providing further indication that demand for new vehicles that lagged amid the weak economic recovery in the past few years is starting to return.

General Motors led the way among the top four U.S. automakers with 194,699 vehicles sold, up 16% versus a year prior. Ford had 166,501, a 22% gain. Toyota sold 157,725 vehicles, up 27% versus a year prior, and Chrysler Group had 117,331, a gain of 16%.

While industry-wide figures aren't in yet, it appears that sales remained in high gear in January even after a strong December. Overall, sales rose 13% in 2012 to 14.5 million, the biggest increase since 1984.

Analysts at expect total January sales to come in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 15.4 million.

-CNNMoney's Chris Isidore contributed reporting.

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