Chrysler Group posts modest sales gain

Bucking an expected trend among U.S. automakers, the Chrysler Group today posted a 1 percent uptick in December sales. The Auburn Hills-based company wooed year-end purchasers with hefty incentives to clear out excess inventory.

Its parent, DaimlerChrysler AG, reported an overall U.S. sales decline of 1 percent for December. That contributed to an overall drop of 5 percent for 2006. The company's Mercedes-Benz USA unit ended 2006 up 11 percent over the prior year despite a 10 percent sales slump in December.

Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. are widely expected to report sales declines compared to December 2006, largely due to waning truck sales.

Analysts predict gains by overseas manufacturers Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co.

Audi of America Inc. said it set sales records in December and for 2006 overall with 90,116 units sold. Detroit News

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