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Tesla Inc.

and General Motors lead the U.S. auto industry in sales of plug-in vehicles.

In a traditional vehicle segment, that would be cause for celebration. But in an emerging market for plug-ins, it has meant investing billions of dollars in vehicles that aren't yet profitable while also being first in line to lose sizable tax credits for their customers from Uncle Sam.

Tesla, perhaps as early as July, is expected to be the first automaker to hit a 200,000-unit sales mark that triggers a phaseout of the federal tax credit currently worth up to $7,500 toward the lease or purchase of a new plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle.



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