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U.S. VEHICLE SALES JUMP 18.3%

Sales of North American-built cars and trucks continued to defy sagging consumer confidence in mid-May, rising 18.3 percent over a year earlier, automakers reported Tuesday.

A total 395,258 light vehicles were sold in the U.S. market during the May 11-20 period, vs. 334,066 a year earlier. Car sales rose 14.8 percent to 224,857, while light truck sales rose 23.3 percent to 170,401.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, domestic cars sold at a strong annual rate of 7.4 million units in the 10-day period and light trucks sold at an annual rate of 5.1 million units.

Ford Motor Co. reported a 6.0 percent increase in domestic car sales and a 28.3 percent increase in truck sales. General Motors Corp. said its car sales rose 7.7 percent and its light truck sales rose 14.2 percent. Chrysler Corp.'s car sales rose an estimated 50.8 percent and truck sales, 22.8 percent.

Among Japanese automakers that build cars in the United States, Honda Motor Co. Ltd.'s domestic car sales fell 1.4 percent; Toyota Motor Corp.'s rose 42.6 percent; Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.'s rose 105.6 percent; Mazda Motor Corp.'s rose 116.9 percent; Mitsubishi Motor Corp.'s rose 52.5 percent; Subaru's fell 21.1 percent, and Isuzu Motors Ltd.'s light truck sales rose 34.7 percent.

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