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MID-MONTH CAR SALES FLAT, BUT TRUCK SALES GAIN 9.4%

U.S. automakers Wednesday reported only a 0.03 percent rise in sales for mid-January, and analysts said the flat figures confirm suspicions the sharp sales rise of the previous 10-day period was an aberration and that the industry outlook remains sluggish.

General Motors Corp., which in early January had a 40 percent sales jump, said it sold 1.5 percent fewer cars from Jan. 11 through Jan. 20 than it did in the 1989 period. Chrysler Corp. followed with a decline of 8.8 percent, and Ford Motor Co. saw its sales for the period fall 10.4 percent.

Total car sales for the middle 10 days of January were 156,333, barely topping the 156,284 sold in the same period last year.

Mid-January truck sales gained 9.4 percent to 110,762, up from 101,286 in the 1989 period.

GM said its mid-January U.S. car sales fell 1.5 percent to 69,700 from 70,745 in the same period last year, while its light truck sales rose 5.9 percent to 41,036 from 38,758.

Ford said its U.S. car sales declined 10.4 percent to 47,122 from 52,577 in the mid-January period last year, and light truck sales rose 0.2 percent to 35,777 from 35,708.

Chrysler said its mid-January U.S. car sales fell 8.8 percent to 20,196 from 22,156 in the like period last year. But its light truck sales rose 35.6 percent to 32,144 from 23,704.

Toyota Motor Corp. reported a gain of 371.4 percent as its sales rose to 7,405 from 1,571 in the same period last year.

Mazda Motor Corp. had a increase of 55.4 percent to 1,049, Honda Motor Co.'s sales rose 14.9 percent to 7,241, and Nissan Motor Corp.'s fell 12.5 percent to 1,702. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said its mid-January car sales rose to 1,918 from 311 last year.

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