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U.S. auto sales grew in Feb.

Mar. 02, 2013 @ 12:23 AM

DETROIT -- Americans want new cars and trucks, and they're not going to let higher gas prices or political dysfunction in Washington stand in their way.

General Motors, Toyota, Ford and most other automakers posted at least modest sales gains for February. Industry analysts estimate last month's sales rose about 7 percent from a year earlier as pent-up demand and cheap financing kept the U.S. auto sales recovery powering along.

GM sales rose 7 percent, while Ford's increased 9 percent. Chrysler and Volkswagen also reported increases, but both slowed from the torrid pace of the past two years. Chrysler sales were up 4 percent over a year earlier, while VW sales were up 3 percent. Toyota sales were up just over 4 percent, while Hyundai and Honda each had 2 percent gains.

Of the major automakers, only Nissan was down. Its sales were off almost 7 percent from a record February of 2012.

Auto industry analysts say that higher Social Security taxes, rising gas prices and looming government spending cuts failed to keep buyers away from showrooms.

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