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Top 5 Stories
Congress Passes Extension of Bush-Era Tax Cuts
Ford Sees 12 Million Sales Rate in December; Transaction Prices Rising
Cadillac Working on Luxury Plug-in Hybrid
Car, Truck of the Year Hopefuls Reflect Changing Industry
Committed to Community: Dealer Donation Buys Defibrillator for City Hall
Top 5 Stories
Congress Passes Extension of Bush-Era Tax Cuts

Congress approved the most significant tax bill in nearly a decade late Thursday, overcoming liberal resistance to continue for two more years tax breaks enacted under president George W. Bush and to provide a fresh boost of federal support to the tepid economic recovery. The package breezed through the Senate earlier this week on a vote of 81 to 19, giving Obama his strongest bipartisan victory on a major initiative since he took office. Opposition in the House crumpled in the face of that overwhelming showing, though House liberals insisted on offering an alternative that would levy a higher tax on estates than the Obama-GOP compromise will impose. That effort failed shortly before midnight, 194 to 233.
Source: The Washington Post

Editor's Note: Due in part to dealers’ grass-roots efforts, the House-passed tax bill includes the NADA-supported estate tax provision setting the rate at 35 percent with a $5 million per-spouse exemption for 2011 and 2012 and an amendment introduced by Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., to scale back the estate tax provision was defeated. President Obama is scheduled to sign the legislation this afternoon.

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Ford Sees 12 Million Sales Rate in December; Transaction Prices Rising

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. expects U.S. industry sales in December to match those of the past couple of months -- an annual sales rate of around 12 million vehicles. But the average transaction prices are higher because of customer demand for pricey trim levels and features such as leather seats, said Jim Farley, Ford’s group vice president of global marketing, sales and service. "As we execute the product better and we give them more choice, we’re clearly seeing them move up in range, and that’s not just with the Fiesta subcompact,” Farley said. “But we’re seeing it all the way up through the lineup, including F series."
Source: Automotive News

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Cadillac Working on Luxury Plug-in Hybrid

General Motors Co has been working to develop a plug-in hybrid vehicle based on its Cadillac SRX crossover, two people with direct knowledge of the work said. The Cadillac plug-in would share some of the technology that GM has developed for its Chevrolet Volt over the past four years, allowing the automaker to bring down the cost of its emerging electric car offerings, one of the sources said. The move to launch a plug-in Cadillac could also allow GM to extend what its executives see as a crucial lead over Toyota Motor Corp in what GM calls "extended range electric vehicles."
Source: Reuters

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Car, Truck of the Year Hopefuls Reflect Changing Industry

DETROIT — The 2011 North American Car and Truck of the Year finalists reflect an industry reinventing itself: cars with electric motors and trucks some classify as crossovers. The three car finalists are the all-electric Nissan Leaf, the Chevrolet Volt extended-range hybrid and the Hyundai Sonata as a conventional sedan or hybrid. Charlie Vogelheim, an analyst with IntelliChoice in Irvine, Calif., was surprised that all the car finalists are electrics or hybrids. "They represent such a small segment. Alternative powertrains are an important direction, but they are so small in terms of overall volume," he said.
Source: The Detroit News

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Committed to Community: Dealer Donation Buys Defibrillator for City Hall

VINELAND, N.J. — That City Council chambers didn't have a defibrillator came as a shock to Bob McCormick. So he set out to do something about it. McCormick, vice president and general manager of Toyota and Scion of Vineland, presented a $1,500 check to Mayor Robert Romano on Thursday to buy a defibrillator for the Chambers. McCormick made the donation Thursday as an ambassador of the National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation. "I thought it was good to give back to the city," McCormick said.
Source: The Daily Journal (Vineland, N.J.)

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Quotable
 
"This bill, the president of the United States believes and I believe, will have a positive effect on the economy."

    -- House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), on the bill passed by the House Thursday extending tax breaks enacted under president George W. Bush for two more years, The Washington Post, Dec. 17

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