Mitsubishi Motors sold only slightly fewer cars in January than in the same month last year. But, the company reports the one percent drop is an improvement over recent months as sales of discontinued models begin to cycle out of monthly comparisons. Sales of the Outlander Sport Crossover Utility Vehicle made at the company assembly plant in Normal were up 21% from a year ago. That makes five straight months of rising sales for the Outlander Sport. And Mitsubishi notes sales of all currently produced models rose 59% compared to January of last year. Sales of the all electric I-vehicle topped 250 in January, compared to just 36 at this time last year. For other automakers, last year's momentum continues. Ford, Chrysler, and GM all reported double digit gains for January ranging from 16% to 22%. Industry analysts say Americans bought new vehicles at a strong pace last month, a bright spot in the economic recovery. Chrysler estimates that total U.S. industry sales hit an annual rate of 15.5 million in January. If that holds for the rest of the year, automakers will sell 1 million more vehicles than in 2012.
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