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Auto sales hits new high in 2016

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Consumer interest remains high this year, too, as demonstrated by the tens of thousands of people who flocked to the 2017 Portland International Auto Show last month.

PORTLAND TRIBUNE: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - Consumer interest in new vehicles is still high, as shown by the crowds that attended the 2017 Portland International Auto Show last month.American auto buyers still can't get enough new cars and light trucks. Sales exceeded expectations and set a new record in 2016 with the sale of 17.55 million vehicles by the end of the year.

That total was up from 17.5 million in 2016, and marked the seventh straight year of increasing sales since the official end of the Great Recession. The final tally was boosted by stronger-then-expected sales in the final days of December.

Experts believe the sales streak is driven by pent up demand after the recession, low interest rates, relatively low gas prices, and across-the-board improvements in vehicles. Crossovers, SUVs and trucks are proving especially popular, prompting dealers to offer extra incentives to sell smaller cars.

Consumer interest remains high this year, too, as demonstrated by the tens of thousands of people who flocked to the 2017 Portland International Auto Show last month. It was produced by the Metro Portland New Car Dealers Association. The Portland Tribune was the Presenting Sponsor.