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Top 5 Stories
Treasury Planning Early Sale of GM Shares
GM Braces for Pricier Gas; Despite 2010 Profit, Investors Worry
Honda Ramps Up U.S. Sales
Volvo to Invest $10-11 Billion in Next 5 Years
One Door Closes, Another Opens
For more auto industry news, visit NADAFrontPage.com
Top 5 Stories
Treasury Planning Early Sale of GM Shares

WASHINGTON — A top economic adviser to President Barack Obama said the administration is committed to quickly selling the government's remaining stake in General Motors Co., rather than wait to maximize taxpayers' investment. Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said the government wouldn't delay the sale of its shares in hopes of getting a better return on its 33 percent stake in the automaker. "The writing is clearly on the wall that the government is getting out of the GM position," Goolsbee told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. "The government never wanted to be in the business of being majority shareholder of GM. It was only to prevent a wider spillover, negative event on the economy. So we're trying to get out of that." Goolsbee's comments came as GM's stock fell to its lowest level since the company went public in November, dropping as low as $32.05 Thursday before rebounding to close at $33.02, down $1.57 or 4.5 percent.
Source: The Detroit News

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GM Braces for Pricier Gas; Despite 2010 Profit, Investors Worry

Shares of General Motors slid 4.5% on Thursday to $33.02, their lowest level since the Detroit automaker went public in November at $33 per share. That was despite the fact that GM reported a profit of $4.7 billion for 2010 -- its first profit since 2004 and its highest profit since 1999 -- and forecast an even more profitable year in 2011. Blame turmoil in the Middle East that has pushed oil prices to a 2 1/2-year high, said Matt Therian, a research analyst at Renaissance Capital. GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson had already been urging his team to prepare for oil at $120 a barrel. "We were concerned about this well before it was on the front page of any newspaper," Akerson said Thursday.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Honda Ramps Up U.S. Sales

TOKYO—Honda Motor Co., buoyed by higher demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles as oil prices rise, is on track to surpass its target for 10% U.S. unit sales gains in the coming fiscal year, the company's leader said Thursday. As the political turmoil in the Middle East has put the auto industry on edge with the prospect of higher pump prices, Honda President and Chief Executive Takanobu Ito sees an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage. "We think it's very possible that higher gas prices won't hurt demand for cars so much as it will drive buyers toward more affordable, fuel-efficient cars," Mr. Ito said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. He predicted strong demand for Honda's Odyssey minivan, along with new versions of the Civic compact and CR-V small sports-utility vehicle, would push up U.S. sales volume more than 10% in the full-year starting in April from a year earlier.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Volvo to Invest $10-11 Billion in Next 5 Years

BEIJING -- Volvo Cars said Friday it will invest $10-$11 billion worldwide over the next five years in an ambitious expansion following its acquisition by a Chinese automaker. CEO Stefan Jacoby's announcement came as Volvo unveiled plans to target fast-growing China for stronger sales. The company said it will open a production base in southwestern China and is looking at a possible second site in the northeast. Volvo's China plans call for boosting sales to about 200,000 vehicles by 2015, up from 39,000 last year, Jacoby said. Worldwide, Volvo hopes to double sales to 800,000 by 2020. "China plays a significant role in this growth plan," he said. "We have also significant growth plans in the United States and Europe and in very attractive overseas markets like Australia or Brazil."
Source: The Associated Press

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One Door Closes, Another Opens
By Tom Walsh

Carl Galeana and his 500 or so employees in three states just keep on hawking and servicing new and used automobiles. No matter what kind of crazy catastrophes come their way. Fittingly, I found him ... conjuring up a brand-new business, as owner of a Sears Auto Center franchise, on the site of his old Saturn of Warren store off Van Dyke near 14 Mile Road. "This is great for us," Galeana said Thursday, (Feb. 10) at the grand opening of his Sears Auto Center, only the sixth nationwide since Sears launched the free-standing auto center concept last year. "We've been able to hire back 15 people from the old dealership here, and plan to bring more back as we see how the business grows." Galeana is allowed to run a used-car business from the Sears location, as well as service cars and sell parts ranging from tires to DieHard batteries. Sears has sold auto parts since 1905 and offered vehicle service since 1931, but until now, its 850 company-owned stores were mostly in large shopping malls.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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For more auto industry news, visit NADAFrontPage.com

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Quotable
 
"We were concerned about this well before it was on the front page of any newspaper."

    -- Dan Akerson, GM chairman and CEO, who said Thursday he has been urging his team to prepare for oil at $120 a barrel, Detroit Free Press, Feb. 25

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