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December was filled with good reasons for consumers to buy a new car or truck: big discounts, very little snow and gasoline prices falling like a rock.

Automotive News reported that forecasters say U.S. new-vehicle sales likely jumped 10 percent for the month, bringing the total for 2014 to 16.5 million, beating even the most optimistic projections from early in the year. Most forecasters are calling for U.S. light-vehicle sales to hit 17 million in 2015, a threshold the industry hasn’t since seen 2001.

“What a way to close out this blockbuster year for the industry,” John Krafcik, president of TrueCar, said in a statement. “With the strongest demand in a decade, gains in highly profitable segments and modest incentive growth, automakers should be grinning as they close the books this year.”

Automakers still have until Friday, Jan. 2, to complete sales transactions that count toward 2014. They’ll report December sales on Monday, Jan. 5.

Forecasts from TrueCar, Kelley Blue Book, Cars.com and LMC Automotive estimate December volume at 1.49 million to 1.51 million units, or 10% to 11% more than a year ago. Anything in that range would represent the industry’s best December since 2004 and second best ever. That translates to a seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate of 16.7 million to 16.9 million, up from 15.5 million in December 2013 but down from November’s rate of 17.2 million.

Through November, automakers had sold 15,023,111 light vehicles this year, up 6 percent from first 11 months of 2013.

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