DETROIT (AP) – Chrysler says its U.S. sales rose 16 percent last month for its best January in five years.

The company sold just nearly 118,000 cars and trucks last month. It’s a sign that the U.S. auto sales momentum from last year is continuing into 2013.

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Industry analysts say Americans bought new vehicles at a strong pace last month, a bright spot in the economic recovery.

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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.

The company was the first to report sales on Friday.

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