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GENERAL MOTORS Corp. is optimistic about sales in the Middle East -- especially since Chevys have earned a reputation as speedy get-away cars.

The Chevrolet Caprice sedan has acquired a "good reputation for getting people out of Iraq," said Terry Indge, GM's director for the Middle East. "It turned out to be a good cross-desert vehicle," he said. "Iraqi troops in off-road vehicles couldn't keep up with them."

Despite the loss of a rich market in Kuwait, GM anticipates selling 40,000 vehicles in the Middle East this year, compared with about 36,000 last year.

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