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Top 5 Stories
Auto Sales Up for First Time Since the Recession
Fiesta Helps Ford Post 17% Sales Gain in 2010
Holly Petraeus Will Lead Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Office for Service Member Affairs
New Exhibit at NADA Convention Aims to Get More Dealers Involved in Promoting Road Safety
VW Throws Full Support Behind CPO Program, Encourages More Dealer Involvement
Top 5 Stories
Auto Sales Up for First Time Since the Recession

DETROIT -- Auto sales rose in the United States last year for the first time since the recession. They're still far from what they were just a few years ago - but that's just fine with the downsized auto industry, which can post profits even if it sells millions fewer cars and trucks. For the year, new car and truck sales came in at 11.6 million, up 11 percent from last year, automakers reported Tuesday. For December alone, sales were 1.14 million, also up 11 percent from a year earlier. Over the past two years, many Americans, even those who had enough money to buy a car during the recession, had been wary to commit to monthly car payments, so they put off making such a large purchase. Many opted to repair or make do with what they had. Those buyers are easing back into the market, replacing aging vehicles. The average vehicle on U.S. roads is now 10.2 years old - the oldest since 1997 and a full year older than in 2007, before the recession, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Source: The Associated Press

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Fiesta Helps Ford Post 17% Sales Gain in 2010

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. credits the new Fiesta subcompact and the Focus compact for boosting its retail sales in 2010, helping the automaker's overall sales rise 17 percent in 2010. Ford's full-year sales -- including Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands -- came to 1.96 million vehicles. In December, Ford sold 190,191 units, up 4 percent. But retail sales of the Focus rose 31 percent in December, said Ken Czubay, Ford's vice president of U.S. sales, service and marketing, during a conference call (Tuesday). Said Czubay: “Increasing our share in this category is key to our growth strategy in the United States and around the world.”
Source: Automotive News

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Holly Petraeus Will Lead Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Office for Service Member Affairs

In an ongoing push to fill key positions within the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, presidential adviser Elizabeth Warren plans to name Holly Petraeus to head up the agency's efforts to protect military families from abusive lenders, according to sources familiar with the move. The appointment of Petraeus - the wife of Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan - to lead the bureau's Office for Service Member Affairs is expected to take place later this week, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement had been made. The office Petraeus will head grew out of a vehement political battle last year over whether the nation's auto dealers should be subject to regulation by the new consumer bureau. The dealers argued that regulators already had power to crack down on predatory practices and that additional rules merely would overburden Main Street businesses. Ultimately ... most auto dealers won exemption from the new watchdog's oversight.
Source: The Washington Post

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New Exhibit at NADA Convention Aims to Get More Dealers Involved in Promoting Road Safety

SAN FRANCISCO -– With millions of car shoppers visiting dealerships each year, it’s an ideal opportunity for the nation’s new-car and -truck dealers to help raise the awareness of road safety issues with motorists of all ages. A new exhibit, “Dealers Driving Road Safety” which is set to launch at the NADA Convention & Expo in San Francisco, Feb. 5 to 7, will attempt to do just that. “The basic concept is for dealer groups who are already participating in safety programs to show their fellow dealers how they can begin similar programs in their own communities,” said Andy Koblenz, NADA Vice President of Legal and Regulatory Affairs. “It’s designed to be a peer-to-peer or ‘dealers reaching out to other dealers’ initiative.”
Source: NADA Public Affairs

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VW Throws Full Support Behind CPO Program, Encourages More Dealer Involvement

Like many others in the industry, the leadership at Volkswagen Group of America recognizes the increasingly important — and profitable — role that the certified pre-owned segment plays in today's auto market. As such, the automaker is pushing its dealer body to maximize this advantageous sales avenue and make it a more integral part of their operations. In other words, VW wants its dealers to get more use out of the CPO opportunities. “What we’re trying to do is increase dealer engagement,” Chris Hoehner, general manager of fleet and certified pre-owned sales at VW Group of America, told Auto Remarketing. “Certainly we’d like to see that number increase, and in fact, it has in the last 12 months,” he said during the December interview. “We’ve got a lot more dealers contributing to our (CPO) sales base as we move through 2010.”
Source: Auto Remarketing

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Quotable
 
"We're coming off what was arguably the most challenging time in our 53-year history."

    -- Don Esmond, senior vice president of Toyota's U.S. operations, The Associated Press, Jan. 4

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