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Ford to GM Sales Foreseen Most Since 2006 at 16.3 Million

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(Bloomberg) – Sales at Ames Ford Lincoln in Iowa have risen fivefold in the last 18 months as buyers embrace low-cost financing on popular models like the Fusion sedan and F-150 pickup from Ford Motor Co. (F).

The “new car business is in very good shape right now,” said Rick Pattison, the dealership’s new car manager. “New cars are really better than they have ever been.”

The revamped cars and trucks from Ford, General Motors Co. (GM) and other automakers are luring buyers to dealerships in droves and prompting analysts, already bullish about the industry’s prospects, to issue even more optimistic projections. Analysts estimate deliveries of new cars and light trucks will rise to 16.3 million by the end of the year. The new estimate means this year would be the biggest for auto sales since 2006, when 16.6 million units were sold.

Automakers are benefiting from widely available credit and low interest rates, said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with Edmunds.com. A change in buying habits is also making owning a new car more affordable over time with leasing and longer-term loans attracting buyers, she said.

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