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Top 5 Stories
U.S. Auto Sales to Rise 11.3% This Year, NADA Predicts
Five Factors Will Drive Bigger Auto Sales in 2011
Poll: U.S. Car Firms to Gain Market Share
Sticker Shock Greets Used-Car Shoppers
Ford App Will Control Focus Charge by Phone
Top 5 Stories
U.S. Auto Sales to Rise 11.3% This Year, NADA Predicts

WASHINGTON -- U.S. sales of new cars and light trucks will rise 11.3 percent this year as the economy recovers, lending eases, and interest rates stay low, a National Automobile Dealer Association forecast said. Sales will likely rise to about 12.9 million new vehicles, NADA chief economist Paul Taylor said in a statement today. That compares with 11.6 million in 2010, when sales advanced 11 percent from the previous year's 27-year low. “Economic indicators point to an economy with growing strength,” he added in an interview. If the NADA forecast proves on target, light vehicle sales will be the highest since 2008, when 13.2 million vehicles were sold. Auto sales also will be fueled by the aging of the U.S. fleet, he said. The average age of cars and trucks on the road is 10.3 years, he said.
Source: Automotive News

Editor’s note: NADA issued its annual auto sales forecast and economic outlook for 2011 by chief economist Paul Taylor. Taylor will be available to the media to discuss the future of the auto industry at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit from Jan. 9 to 11 during press days. Click here for the news release, which was issued today.

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Five Factors Will Drive Bigger Auto Sales in 2011

U.S. new-car and light-truck sales are headed for double-digit percentage gains in 2011. So predicts Paul Taylor, chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association, which explains why in the following: "The auto industry is coming back strong from what has been a difficult economy," Taylor says. "Auto sales are playing a key role in leading the economic recovery." With the average age of cars and trucks on the road today at more than 10-years-old, Taylor says Americans will need to replace their aging vehicles. This fact, combined with low financing rates and wider credit availability, will help boost new-vehicle sales 12 percent this year, he says. Taylor says that higher gasoline prices will also increase demand for the more expensive hybrids that typically languish on dealer lots when gasoline prices are lower. Sales of diesel cars and trucks will increase as well, he says.
Source: USA Today

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Poll: U.S. Car Firms to Gain Market Share

Global auto execs say innovation, quality advances spur change
WASHINGTON — U.S. auto companies will boost market share during the next five years, according to a survey of global automobile executives released (Thursday). The 12th annual global automotive survey by KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm, predicted growth among U.S. automakers would be spurred by product innovation, restructuring and continued improvement in product quality. The outlook marks a dramatic turnaround in their expectations from a year ago, according to the polling of 200 senior executives in the global auto industry. When asked to predict global market share winners over the next five years, the executives picked Ford Motor Co. About 43 percent saw Ford gaining market share, compared with 29 percent in 2010 and 13 percent in 2009. General Motors Co. saw the most significant climb among the respondents in this year's survey. Forty percent of executives expect its market share to increase over the next five years, up from 13 percent in 2010 and 15 percent in 2009. Chrysler Group LLC also saw a double-digit increase in the percentage of executives predicting improvement — finishing at 24 percent compared with 7.5 percent in 2010.
Source: The Detroit News

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Sticker Shock Greets Used-Car Shoppers

Good-quality used cars are in short supply at dealer auctions and, consequently, on their lots. Shoppers in the market for used cars should brace themselves before heading to dealerships. With drivers holding onto their cars longer, used-car dealers are finding they have to pay more for good vehicles at auction. Consequently, consumers are paying more for them at dealerships and used-car lots — sometimes significantly more than they did a just couple of years ago. In 2008, during the height of the banking crisis, good deals were abundant, according to Jonathan Banks, executive automotive analyst at the National Automobile Dealers Association, which produces the N.A.D.A. Used Car Guide. Auto dealers use the guide to determine a vehicle’s trade-in value. “No one wanted used cars, and banks weren’t lending on used cars,” Mr. Banks said. “Gas prices were rising, so the whole used-car market in late 2008 tanked.” For nearly a decade, new-car sales in the United States ranged from 15 million to 17 million units. This allowed for a massive influx of used cars into the market, Mr. Banks said. New-car sales then fell to about 10 million units. Fewer new-car sales meant fewer trade-ins.
Source: The New York Times

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Ford App Will Control Focus Charge by Phone

Ford said today it will offer an application that will allow owners of its new battery-powered Focus Electric to control the recharging process with their smartphones. The application, called MyFord Mobile, will be announced by Ford at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The application is part of Ford's philosophy that consumers who are interested in electric cars are people who like technology and want to do everything possible to reduce their own energy usage. The multi-screen application can display the charging status of the car, allows the owner to start or stop the charging process, can locate the nearest charging station and can display the overall health of the Focus Electric's battery. It will be free for the first five years.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Quotable
 
"The auto industry is coming back strong from what has been a difficult economy. Auto sales are playing a key role in leading the economic recovery."

   
-- NADA Chief Economist Paul Taylor, referring to the trade group's annual sales forecast and automotive outlook, which was announced today, USA Today, Jan. 7
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