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A Tiny Bit of Sunshine for Detroit

Slashed production is finally getting supply more aligned with demandand prices are rising

Detroit's bad numbers just keep on coming. The Big Three's domestic vehicle sales, market share, and employment rolls have all been declining steadily for years—and now a looming recession threatens to dampen the financial performance of U.S. automakers even further.

But one vital statistic is improving, and it could represent a bit of hope: Car prices are rising. After accounting for rebates and other deals, the average vehicle sold for a record $29,230 in December, according to Web price tracker That's up from $28,923 in December, 2006. On average, 2007 prices have been about $1,000 per car higher than in 2005.