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Better times may be ahead for beleaguered automobile dealers. The National Automobile Dealers Association is forecasting a spring recovery that may even bring back a few of the dealers who recently left the business.

Association polls show that 16 percent of US motorists feel that they need a new car but are put off by the high prime rate.

The association insists that few customers would have to pay anywhere near the prime rate anyway and that the greater impact is on dealers who must borrow money to keep their lots stocked with cars.

The dealers group is trying to convince Americans that buying a car is not only good for the economy but fo r energy supplies as well.m

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