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December 30, 2015 FacebookTwitterFlickrRSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
Inside this issue
Consumer Confidence in U.S. Increases More Than Projected
U.S. Home Prices Climb in October, Helped by Solid Job Market
Truck Love, Cheap Gas: Pump Prices End 2015 At Seven-Year Low
How the Top Car, SUV Sales Rivalries Stacked Up in 2015
BMW Teases Gesture Recognition Concept
Hollywood, Motown Collide for Detroit Auto Show Debuts
Top Stories
Consumer Confidence in U.S. Increases More Than Projected

Consumer confidence rebounded more than forecast in December as Americans grew more optimistic about the current state of the economy and job market. The Conference Board’s sentiment index climbed to 96.5 from a revised November reading of 92.6 that was higher than previously estimated, the New York-based private research group said Tuesday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 93.5. The combination of a strong labor market and cheap fuel costs have buoyed households’ finances, giving them the wherewithal to purchase everything from cars to clothing and holiday gifts. Faster growth in wages would usher in bigger gains in confidence and probably provide another boost to consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy.
Source: Bloomberg


Editor's note: The U.S. retail-auto industry finished the year strong, and a record high is expected for new-car and light-truck sales in 2015, said NADA Chief Economist Steven Szakaly. “It's important to remember that with all of the good news in housing, consumer spending and employment that the automotive sector, in particular, new-car dealerships have led and supported this economic recovery since 2009,” Szakaly added. “Since the financial crisis and automaker bankruptcies, which were also painful, there’s been a record six years of vehicle sales growth. The U.S. economy is set to grow again in 2016, and we expect auto sales to rise – with increasing automaker incentives – to sales of 17.7 million new light vehicles.”

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U.S. Home Prices Climb in October, Helped by Solid Job Market

Steady job growth, low mortgage rates and tight inventories helped fuel rising U.S. home prices in October. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.5% in the 12 months ending in October, up from a 5.4% pace in September, according to a report released Tuesday. Home values have climbed at a roughly 5% pace during much of 2015, as strong hiring has bolstered a real estate market still recovering from a housing bust that triggered a recession eight years ago. Home sales have increased this year as the 5% unemployment rate has strengthened confidence in the economy.
Source: The Associated Press

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Truck Love, Cheap Gas: Pump Prices End 2015 At Seven-Year Low

As 2015 comes to an end, Americans are living large on low gas prices. U.S. average pump prices for regular-grade gasoline closed the last week of the year at just $2.03—up a fraction of a penny versus the previous week, yet at nearly a ten-year low. For all fuel grades, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), pump prices finished the year 26.5 cents lower than year-ago levels. And highway diesel fuel closed the year down nearly 98 cents compared to year-ago levels.
Source: The Car Connection

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How the Top Car, SUV Sales Rivalries Stacked Up in 2015

As the year winds to a close, it's not too early to consider some of the biggest sales rivalries in the auto industry. Who's up and who's down, compared to their rivals. It's more than automakers who care about the sales stats. Some owners clubs and others take great pride in knowing their model came out on top. But 2015 was a topsy-turvy year. Buyers moved to SUVs over cars in droves, lured by low gas prices and craving more space and practicality. Lots of new models were introduced, and new models tend to be the hottest sellers. Here's how the top rivalries are shaping up, as reported by Autodata. Full-year sales statistics due to be reported next week....
Source: USA Today

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BMW Teases Gesture Recognition Concept

The BMW Group has released a teaser image of a concept vehicle it’s calling a “Vision Car” that will make its debut next week at the CES tech show in Las Vegas. The German automaker said only that the car will “demonstrate what the interior and the user interface of the future might look like.” It will do so using a technology called AirTouch, which uses gesture recognition so the display in a vehicle can be operated like a touchscreen without having to make contact with the surface. Sensors record the hand movements in the area between the central console and the interior mirror. CES 2016, which runs Jan. 6-9, showcases the latest automotive, home and entertainment technologies.
Source: The Detroit News

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Hollywood, Motown Collide for Detroit Auto Show Debuts

A herd of overly excited cattle, a Jeep smashing through a glass wall, Cirque du Soleil acrobats doing backflips: They’re just a few of the spectacles automakers stage when premiering new cars and trucks at the North American International Auto Show.
Source: The Detroit News

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Quotable
"The U.S. housing market as a whole made great progress in 2015, as the big and occasionally volatile bounce off the bottom we experienced from 2012 through 2014 gave way to a more stable and sustainable environment."

    -- Svenja Gudell, chief economist at the real estate firm Zillow, The Associated Press, Dec. 29

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