Auto sales just rose 16% in December, and companies such as Ford ( F), GM ( GM) and Nissan ( NSANY) are optimistic about 2011 auto sales despite rising gas prices. It's a marked improvement from when J.D. Power cut its sales forecast for the year from 13.2 million vehicles to 12.9 million vehicles in October, and it also bodes well for winter buyers -- who'll be in the showroom during what Consumer Reports calls the auto industry's slowest season. January buyers may still find some deals on leftover 2010 models, but February buyers are usually rewarded for their patience with overwrought President's Day incentives and rebates. -- Written by Jason Notte in Boston. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: email@example.com.
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