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Top 5 Stories
Fuel, Quake to Trim U.S. Auto Sales
Fiat to Pay $1.27 Billion for 16% of Chrysler
Automakers' Eyes on Fuel Efficiency
Scarcity of New Cars Fuels Used Car Sales
5 Tips for Dealing with an Automotive Recall
Top 5 Stories
Fuel, Quake to Trim U.S. Auto Sales

Forecaster IHS Global Insight on Wednesday said it is cutting its forecast for U.S. vehicle sales in 2011 to 12.9 million cars and light trucks, from an earlier prediction of 13.3 million, because of the impact of the Japan earthquake and rising oil prices. IHS economist George Magliano said in a conference call that the forecaster is reducing its outlook by 200,000 vehicles because of the March 11 quake, and 150,000 vehicles due to higher oil prices. He added that the impact from Japan will begin to dissipate later this year, but higher oil prices will continue to be a factor. "Japan is going to be a temporary issue. Oil will be a longer-term issue," he said. In the next few months, U.S. and European auto makers should face shortages of electronics components that come from Japan, such as computer chips. "The auto sector is going to see shortages of electronic components for some time," said another IHS economist, John Bauman. He suggested that the shortages will be disruptive, but added they "won't be catastrophic."
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Fiat to Pay $1.27 Billion for 16% of Chrysler

Fiat S.p.A. has agreed to pay $1.27 billion for another 16 percent stake in U.S. carmaker Chrysler Group LLC this quarter, the Italian automaker said on Thursday, in a deal that was faster and cheaper than expected. Fiat has reached agreement with Chrysler and its other shareholders to exercise an option to buy the 16 percent stake in the second quarter, it said in a statement. Fiat received an additional 5 percent in Chrysler from the U.S. government last week, giving it a 30 percent holding, by reaching targets that included Fiat executing franchise agreements with 90 percent of its dealers in Latin America to carry Chrysler products. Fiat agreed with the U.S. government after Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 to share technology and management in exchange for an initial 20 percent stake and performance goals to increase to 35 percent without paying any cash.
Source: Automotive News Europe

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Automakers' Eyes on Fuel Efficiency

They pump up small cars, ‘eco’ versions

NEW YORK — With $5-a-gallon gas on the horizon, automakers unveiled fuel efficient models Wednesday at the New York International Auto Show with the hopes of luring budget-minded consumers to showrooms. Honda, Subaru, Nissan, Kia and Hyundai all introduced more fuel efficient compact and subcompact models. Several of the new models are 20 or 30 percent more fuel efficient than previous versions — with new engines and less weight. Automakers also are upgrading smaller cars with more leg room, nicer interiors and more safety features to attract buyers who are choosing a small car because they want it — not just because it's less expensive. Although gas prices have been rising at the pump — now averaging $3.84 a gallon nationwide, up from $2.85 a year ago, according to AAA — executives like Ford Motor Co.'s Americas chief, Mark Fields, and AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson don't think high prices will sink industry sales. Instead, they'll shift buyers to more fuel efficient vehicles.
Source: The Detroit News

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Scarcity of New Cars Fuels Used Car Sales

Used car prices have skyrocketed in recent months, with some popular models costing nearly 10 percent more than at the start of the year. The average trade-in values of 3-to-5-year-old compacts such as the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic have climbed nearly 10 percent since January, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association, which tracks pricing trends on new and used vehicles and publishes that information in its pricing guides. By comparison, the average wholesale price for the same category of cars rose less than 4 percent for 2010, NADA reports. The recent spike in used-car prices can be attributed, in part, to high gas prices that have driven demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, said NADA Vice President Michael Stanton. Meantime, production cutbacks by automakers still reeling from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan have resulted in dwindling new-car inventories, he said.
Source: Dayton Daily News

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5 Tips for Dealing with an Automotive Recall

DETROIT — Most cars and trucks get recalled at some point in their lives. So don't be surprised if a letter arrives telling you to bring in your vehicle for repairs. Recalls address safety problems, even if they are minor. Last year, for example, automakers called back more than 20 million vehicles in the U.S. That's the most since 2004. Just last week, a recall of the Ford F-150 pickup ballooned to 1.2 million vehicles. Do not be alarmed if your car or truck is recalled, but do take action.

1. Do the repairs
2. Be aggressive
3. Check for recalls
4. Get e-mail alerts
5. Other repairs.
Source: The Associated Press

Editor's note: To improve safety, the National Automobile Dealers Association urges vehicle owners to have recalled vehicles fixed as soon as possible after receiving a recall notice from the manufacturer. On average, 65-70% of vehicle owners have their recalled vehicles fixed and our goal is to have 100% of recalled vehicles fixed. NADA urges every car owner who receives a recall notice to visit their local dealer and have the recalled vehicle inspected and fixed at no charge. Owners of pre-owned vehicles can contact their nearest authorized dealer who, using the vehicle identification number or VIN, can check the manufacturer’s database to determine if a recall has been issued and whether the repairs have been carried out.

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"Gas prices right now really have consumers' attention."

-- John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor Co., The Detroit News, April 21
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