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Top 5 Stories
Used Cars Could Soar in Value Due to Japan Effect
Senate Lines Up 1099 Repeal Bill for Tuesday
Toyota Hikes U.S. Prices an Average 1.7% on Most Models
Ally, Former GM Finance Arm, Files for IPO
Auto Journalists, Shop Workers Not Interchangeable
Top 5 Stories
Used Cars Could Soar in Value Due to Japan Effect

Used car prices — already rising — could soar as buyers are driven to seek alternatives due to a predicted shortage of some new vehicles in the wake of the continued disruption of Japanese auto production, experts predict. “If you have a small car and want to get rid of it, now is the time. The prices are just going crazy,” says Jonathan Banks, analyst for National Automobile Dealers Association Used Car Guides. Over the past couple of weeks, the NADA pricing service says it has observed an 11% rise in the wholesale prices of 3- to 5-year-old compacts such as the Toyota Corolla and the similar Ford Focus. Midsize cars went up 8.5%, the service says.
Source: USA Today

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Senate Lines Up 1099 Repeal Bill for Tuesday

The Senate is slated to take up a House-passed 1099 repeal bill on Tuesday morning that will likely pass, a Republican aide told The Hill on Thursday night. If the House-passed measure gains approval without being amended the bill goes to President Obama for his signature. There's one amendment to the bill being offered by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) that would require further study of the effects of the offset proposed by Republicans. Clearance of the bill would end a yearlong debate about repealing the 1099 provision in the healthcare law that would require businesses to file the forms with every business with which they buy at least $600 in goods and services.
Source: The Hill

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Toyota Hikes U.S. Prices an Average 1.7% on Most Models

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., coping with a rising yen and an earthquake-shattered supply chain, announced price increases [Thursday] that average 1.7 percent for many 2011 Toyota, Scion and Lexus models. The increases range from $65 for the small imported Scion xD, to $900 for two of its larger vehicles, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Sequoia SUVs, as well as several Lexus models. At Lexus, price increases will range from $600 for the GX460 SUV to $900 for the IS F, LS and GS 450h sedans, and the LX570 SUV. Toyota spokesman Greg Thome said that the price increases are not a result of the industry chaos unleashed by the March 11 earthquake in Japan. "The decision for the price adjustments for all models was made prior to the recent events in Japan," Thome said.
Source: Automotive News

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Ally, Former GM Finance Arm, Files for IPO

NEW YORK -- The former finance arm of General Motors said Thursday it is preparing an initial public offering as it seeks to repay billions in government aid received during the financial crisis. Ally Financial Inc. said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the IPO could raise up to $100 million, but the actual offering will likely be larger. "We're talking about a number that could vary dramatically," said Scott Sweet, a longtime analyst of IPOs and founder of IPO Boutique. "GM started at a number that wasn't even remotely close to where it ended. That's likely the same situation here." Neither Ally nor Treasury officials would say how many shares the government would sell in the IPO. The agency, which currently owns 74 percent of Ally's stock, said in a statement that it supported Ally's move to launch the IPO.
Source: The Associated Press

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Auto Journalists, Shop Workers Not Interchangeable

What happens when you put more than a dozen auto journalists on the assembly line to build cars? Nothing good, apparently. General Motors Co. put the media's skills to the test Tuesday, inviting them to work on a mock assembly line at the soon-to-reopen Orion Assembly plant and assemble as many wooden cars as possible in 20 minutes. The outcome: more than 25 quality errors, one car crash, an abundance of safety mishaps and only one shipment-ready car to show for it. When asked by GM officials about the experience, one journalist summed up the group's miserable performance: "If you do start hiring, I don't think you should hire any of us."
Source: The Detroit News

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For more auto industry news, visit

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“If you have a small car and want to get rid of it, now is the time. The prices are just going crazy.”

    -- Jonathan Banks, auto analyst for the NADA Used Car Guide, USA Today, March 31

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April 6, 1 p.m. (Eastern): "How Does Your Dealership Measure Up?" with 20 Group Consultant Steve Emery

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