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Inside this issue
Sales Forecast to Reach 14M Rate for Feb.
Auto-Loan Rates Falling to Four-Year Low Bolster U.S. Car Sales
Volkswagen More Than Doubles Earnings in 2011
Opinion: Will Expensive Gas Push Drivers Out of Big Trucks?
Editorial: Auto Bailout Worked, Candidates Should Admit It
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Top Stories
Sales Forecast to Reach 14M Rate for Feb.

U.S. auto sales are projected to reach an annual selling rate of 14 million this month, J.D. Power and Associates said [Thursday] as it lifted its forecast for the entire year. That overall seasonally adjusted annual selling rate for light vehicles would fall just behind January's 14.2 million. Combined with four strong months to close 2011, it would give the industry a sixth straight month with a rate above 13 million. "Retail light-vehicle sales in February are strong, which makes us modestly optimistic about the growth of sales going forward," John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations at Power, said in a statement.
Source: Automotive News

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Auto-Loan Rates Falling to Four-Year Low Bolster U.S. Car Sales

Lenders are charging U.S. car buyers the lowest interest rates in at least four years as fewer borrowers fall behind on their payments, supporting demand for new vehicles, according to researcher Experian Automotive. The average interest rate for a new-vehicle loan fell to 4.52 percent in the fourth quarter, Costa Mesa, California-based Experian said [Thursday] in an e-mailed statement. The rate dropped from 4.84 percent a year earlier and is the lowest since Experian began tracking the figure in 2008.
Source: Bloomberg

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Volkswagen More Than Doubles Earnings in 2011

Automaker Volkswagen AG said Friday that its net earnings more than doubled last year as revenues grew by more than a quarter and the company benefited from accounting factors related to its stalled takeover of Porsche. Volkswagen earned ... $20.5 billion in 2011, according to a preliminary earnings statement... Volkswagen sold nearly 8.27 million vehicles last year, a 14.7 percent rise from the previous year's figure of 7.2 million and putting it ahead of Japan's Toyota.
Source: The Associated Press

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Opinion: Will Expensive Gas Push Drivers Out of Big Trucks?
By Jonathan Welsh

Spikes in fuel prices often drive consumers to trade in their gas-guzzling vehicles for more fuel-efficient models, but analysts say the changes in their buying habits generally last a few months at most. After that people tend to return to their old ways, especially if gas prices fall significantly after a surge. But what happens during periods of sustained high fuel prices — like right now? “Historically, gas prices have to spike to change consumers’ habits,” said [Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Automotive.] “Even then, the change lasts only three to four months before they adapt to the higher prices.”
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Editorial: Auto Bailout Worked, Candidates Should Admit It

Politicians don't like to admit they were wrong. Such an admission is seen as a sign of weakness or lack of ideological correctness. Occasionally it does happen, though, particularly when the gap between the politician's original position and the outcome grows glaringly wide. This year, with the pivotal Michigan primary fast approaching, it's time for Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum to acknowledge the obvious: The rescue of General Motors and Chrysler — which started during the Bush administration and continued under Obama — succeeded.
Source: USA Today

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The NADA Story

The NADA story began in 1917 when 30 auto dealers traveled to the nation’s capital to convince Congress not to impose a luxury tax on the automobile. They successfully argued that the automobile is a necessity of American life, not a luxury. From that experience was born the National Automobile Dealers Association. Today, NADA represents nearly 16,000 new-car and -truck dealerships with 32,500 franchises, both domestic and international. For more information, visit

"Historically, gas prices have to spike to change consumers' habits. Even then, the change lasts only three to four months before they adapt to the higher prices."

-- Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Automotive, The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 23

"Through the first half of February, things are looking real solid. We look forward to continued growth in 2012."

    -- Sid DeBoer, CEO of Lithia Motors, says he anticipates double-digit growth this year because of rising U.S. auto sales, Automotive News, Feb. 23

"The improved automotive lending market is good news for consumers in market to buy a vehicle."

    -- Melinda Zabritski, Experian’s director of automotive lending, referring to low interest rates, Bloomberg, Feb. 23

NADA - National Automobile Dealers Association


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