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Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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Top 5 Stories
Ford, GM Positioned to Grow in 2011
Auto Makers Seek Balance Between California's Policies, Market Needs
SUVs' Comeback Means Bigger Tax Bills for Some
Congress Fails to Pass Auto Safety Law
Keys to Holiday Cheer: Who Buys a Car for Christmas?
Top 5 Stories
Ford, GM Positioned to Grow in 2011

DETROIT -- Auto sales seem likely to rise in 2011, a positive sign for both the economy and the automakers, which should all benefit as a rising tide lifts all boats. Among the automakers, the best positioned are probably Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen, said Michael Yoshikami, chief investment strategist at Bay Area-based YCMNET Advisors, which manages about $1 billion in assets. A principal advantage for U.S. automakers, he said, is that they have embraced the move to electric and hybrid cars, particularly in the way that GM has developed the Volt. "I see a sea change in the transition to alternative energy cars, not just to the Prius but also to the Leaf and the Volt," Yoshikami said.
Source: The Street

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Auto Makers Seek Balance Between California's Policies, Market Needs

LOS ANGELES – Auto makers may be fully committed to developing zero-emissions vehicles, but they question California regulatory standards that may be outpacing consumer demand. “We certainly support the effort of the industry to develop fuel alternatives such as electric vehicles, ethanol, clean diesel,” says Wade Newton, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. But the state’s regulations seem based “heavily on optimistic assumptions about market demand” for green rides.
Source: Ward's Auto

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SUVs' Comeback Means Bigger Tax Bills for Some

ST. LOUIS -- The personal property tax on Lisa Kamper's Saturn Outlook was $443 this year, about $65 more than she paid last year. The 2008 sport utility vehicle had increased in value — by nearly 13 percent. The market values of many used trucks and sport utility vehicles have risen, for the first time in memory. And that remarkable boost has forced assessors to decide whether to use the new published prices and assess more taxes on older cars, or, conversely, to ignore the long-established guidelines and hold such values flat. "On some vehicles, we're talking like 20 percent increases," said Jonathan Banks, who puts together the [National Automobile Dealers Association] Used Car Guide.
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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Congress Fails to Pass Auto Safety Law

WASHINGTON — A 10-month effort to pass a landmark auto safety overhaul in the wake of millions of vehicles recalled by Toyota Motor Corp. failed Wednesday as Congress adjourned. Despite a late-push in recent weeks by congressional aides and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, supporters couldn't overcome opposition to the legislation. The bills were sparked by Toyota's recall of more than 8.5 million vehicles worldwide for sudden acceleration issues.
Source: The Detroit News

Editor's Note: The modified vehicle safety bill that proponents attempted to pass during the lame duck session did not include provisions opposed by NADA. NADA had strongly opposed an unworkable provision in the Senate safety bill mandating that dealerships certify if a used vehicle is subject to a recall and whether the recall work has been performed. This provision would have seriously hurt used-car commerce by imposing tremendous compliance costs and liability exposure for dealers while increasing the safety risk for consumers by pushing unremedied vehicles into the “unregulated” private used-car market. In addition, the new-vehicle tax in the House bill was dropped from final versions of the legislation.

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Keys to Holiday Cheer: Who Buys a Car for Christmas?

What do you do for Christmas if your wife's birthday happens to fall the day before? If you're David Savenok of Wheaton, (Ill.), you buy her a new car. Savenok's purchase was one of 15,136 made as a gift in December 2009, according to CNW Market Research, which tracks all things in the auto industry. Paul Taylor, chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association, said the trend of cars as gifts may reflect the stock market in particular more so than the economy in general. "The households that buy most luxury cars have a lot of stock ownership above and beyond retirement plans," he said, and therefore when stocks are up, these buyers have more disposable wealth.
Source: Chicago Tribune

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Quotable
 
“It’s always important that new technology not move out of the consumer’s reach."

    -- Wade Newton, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which says California's regulatory standards for "green" vehicles may be outpacing consumer demand, Ward's Auto, Dec. 20

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