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Best vehicle sales streak since 1973 boosts auto dealers

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — Sales of light vehicles probably rose in December to wrap up a three-year run unrivaled in almost four decades as consumers replaced cars and trucks that are, on average, the oldest ever on the nation’s roads.

Sales probably rose 9.8 percent in December, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts. That would cap a third straight annual gain of at least 10 percent, the first such industry streak since 1973.

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‘‘It sure feels a lot better to be selling cars today than a few years ago,’’ said Geoffrey Pohanka, president of Pohanka Automotive Group in the Washington, D.C., area. ‘‘The age of the fleet and the attractiveness of a lot of cars that are being designed now are going to help sustain sales going forward.’’

US light-vehicle sales in December­ probably climbed to almost 1.37 million, analysts estimated. That would push deliveries for the full year to 14.5 million, the best annual total since 2007.

The projected pace for December almost matches November’s 15.5 million in sales, the best month for industrywide deliveries since January 2008.

Automakers report December sales figures Thursday.

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