The U.S. Senate will approve a $2 billion proposal to extend the cash for clunkers auto sales incentive by week's end, the Senate Democratic leader said on Tuesday.
Nevada's Harry Reid told reporters after a White House meeting between Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama that there was enough support to give the measure final congressional approval.
The House of Representatives approved the extension last Friday.
The program offering rebates of up to $4,500 to consumers who trade in old, gas-guzzling vehicles and buy new, fuel-efficient ones was credited with helping U.S. auto sales jump to the highest level of 2009 in July.
On Tuesday, shares of Ford Motor Co were up nearly 1 percent.
The White House has said the timetable for a vote this week would have to be met or the clunker program would cease.
A senior administration official cast a more confident note on Tuesday despite fears that the extension would be blocked or slowed by Senate procedure.
This program is moving forward, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said at a news conference.
Separately, Transportation Department figures showed sales nearing 160,000 vehicles in connection with clunker trade-ins, representing more than $450 million in federal vouchers, since July 1.
Overseas manufacturers captured six of the top-10 sales spots. All but one were cars rather than trucks or SUVs.
Toyota Motor Corp had three, the Prius, Camry and Corolla, among the leaders, while Honda Motor Co Ltd had two, the Civic and Fit. Both are Japanese companies. South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co Ltd weighed in with the Elantra.
Ford, the only U.S. manufacturer not to seek federal bailouts and not to restructure in bankruptcy, had two models in the top 10, the Escape, a small sport utility vehicle, and the clunker sales leader, the Focus.
Chrysler Group LLC cracked the list with the Dodge Caliber at No. 8 and the Cobalt made by General Motors Co was tenth.
A leading sales group, the National Association of Automobile Dealers, believes the $1 billion budgeted for the current program will come close to being exhausted once current transactions are logged by regulators.
*TAKE A LOOK-Auto industry beset by change.
(Reporting by John Crawley and Richard Cowan; Additional reporting by Thomas Ferraro and Jeff Mason, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)