February 6, 2008 / 5:09 PM / 10 years ago

AUTOSHOW-GM exec sees incentives tapering off in second half

CHICAGO, Feb 6 (Reuters) - The head of General Motors Corp's (GM.N) North American operations said on Wednesday he sees industry incentives tapering off in the second half of the year as sales improve.

Troy Clarke, speaking to reporters at the Chicago Auto Show, said the No. 1 U.S. automaker sees industry light vehicle sales getting stronger in the second half, resulting in an annual sales rate for the last six months in the range of 16 million to 16.5 million.

Most analysts expect an annual sales rate in the first half in the low- to mid-15 million range. Clarke said "prudent" use of incentives are appropriate to support industry sales in the first half.

Clarke said GM is starting to see pent-up demand in the U.S. auto industry after six quarters of contraction. Earlier, however, he told Reuters the next few quarters would look "kind of icky" in North America as a result of pressures on U.S. consumers as the economy slows. He added that the next few quarters were going to be rough. (Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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