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Dealer group forecasts US new vehicle sales will rise to 16.9 million next year

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DETROIT — The National Automobile Dealers Association predicts U.S. sales of new cars and trucks will hit a 10-year high of 16.94 million in 2015.

The group says rising employment and wages, continued low interest rates and lower gas prices will help increase sales next year.

U.S. auto sales are expected to reach 16.4 million this year. That's up 5 percent from 2013.

If sales reach 16.94 million next year, it will be the best year for the industry since 2005, when sales reached 16.95 million, according to Ward's AutoInfoBank.

U.S. sales of new vehicles peaked at 17.3 million in 2000 but later fell due to high gas prices and the recession. Sales dropped to 10.4 million in 2009 but have been rising ever since.

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