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Early-December sales of North American-made vehicles rose 22.3 percent, but the increase came against a weak period last year.

The 10 major companies making cars and light trucks in North America said sales during the Dec. 1-10 period this year averaged 27,624 a day, compared with an average of 22,589 during the same time last year. Car sales were up 27.8 percent and truck sales rose 14.3 percent from last year, the weakest selling period of 1989.

Sales of domestically made cars by General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Corp. rose 29.3 percent, while sales of North American-built cars with Japanese company nameplates increased 14.2 percent.

Ford said its early December vehicle sales rose 32.5 percent, buoyed by hefty increases of 32.2 percent and 32.6 percent, respectively, in car and truck sales.

GM's 28.5 percent increase in early December car sales combined with an 11.6 percent rise in truck sales for a 22.2 percent increase in vehicle sales.

Chrysler said a 13.2 percent decrease in its early-December truck sales rate was offset by a 25.4 percent rise in car sales, resulting in a 4.7 percent increase in vehicle sales during the period this year over last year.

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