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UPDATE 1-Obama expects GM, Chrysler to repay loans

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UPDATE 1-Obama expects GM, Chrysler to repay loans

WASHINGTON, July 29 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that General Motors Co [GM.UL] and Chrysler Group were companies worth saving, but he expects both to repay their government loans.

Obama's comments in Raleigh, North Carolina, came as his administration released preliminary figures showing dealers sold more than 16,000 vehicles in the first days of a government-sponsored program aimed at spurring auto sales and lifting U.S. automakers financially.

The impact on GM, Chrysler and Ford Motor Co (F.N) was not immediately clear with passenger car sales outpacing those of pickups and sport utilities. More specific information was expected to be released next week by the U.S. Transportation Department.

In a speech on the economy, Obama defended the decision for the government to extend GM and Chrysler roughly $64 billion in direct aid and facilitate their bankruptcies this spring.

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