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US Auto Market in Full Recovery Mode

Demand expected to surge – though Washington gridlock still poses a risk.

by on Nov.28, 2012

Toyota's Jim Lentz sees good times ahead for the U.S. auto industry.

It’s been the little engine that could, driving along an economy long struggling to avert a double-dip recession. And now, amidst growing signs that the U.S. economy is clearly on the mend, industry leaders are increasingly confident the auto industry is heading in fast-forward towards some extremely good – though probably not record – years.

As manufacturers get set to report extremely strong numbers for October, Toyota’s top American executive, Jim Lentz said he expects to see 2012 end with sales of 14.3 million – about 1 million more than a year before and a roughly 40% increase from the depths of the recession.

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“And the forecast ahead looks even better,” Lentz said as he opened his keynote remarks at the opening of the annual LA Auto Show. “Analysts expect we will reach 16 million in just a few short years.”

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Consumer Confidence Up, But Oil Prices Slip Back Down – For Now

No $4 gas in sight…not yet, anyway.

by on Aug.25, 2009

Oil prices have been moving up in recent months, but suffered an unexpected setback, Tuesday.

Oil prices have been moving up in recent months, but suffered an unexpected setback, Tuesday.

The good news threatened to turn bad, Tuesday. Driven by improving consumer confidence and a small but measurable improvement in the devastated U.S. housing market, stocks resumed their upward path, with the Dow Jones Industrial average closing the day at 9539.  That was a modest 30-point gain, but marked a 404-point jump over the last six days.

The Conference Board, a widely-quoted research firm, announced Tuesday that consumer attitudes have taken an upturn after two monthly declines. In July, the figure stood at a revised 47.4, surging to 54.1 in August – significantly better than observers had expected and the highest point since May. Whether this means anything as the U.S. economy continues to shed jobs, businesses continue to fire people and government deficits reach the stratosphere remains to be seen.

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Let TDB Pump You Up!

Oil traders were hoping to capture some of that magic, since consumer confidence is one of the strongest indicators of near-term spending. With consumers driving less and factories turning out less, prices collapsed last December, but things may be reversing course. See Ken Zino’s analysis of the oil pricing roller coaster and our failed energy policies by clicking here.

As anyone with a car knows, fuel prices have been steadily increasing this year.  The oil industry has been seeing a number of opportunities over the last few weeks, including increased demand in China, to raise prices. And that has nudged prices steadily higher in recent trading. It’s beginning to look like another price spike could be looming.

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Dealers Buzzing on Chrysler Bankruptcy

Offshore brand organization is shaken by the President's patriotic sales pitch.

by on Apr.30, 2009

Cody Lusk, AIADA

Not so fast Mr. President, said Lusk.

President Barack Obama rattled the windows around the car business with a “buy American” plea as he rolled out the administration’s plans for rebuilding Chrysler with help from Fiat.

The American International Automobile Dealers Association responded almost immediately to a speech in which President Barack Obama asked Americans to “buy American” vehicles as part of our economic recovery.

“AIADA objects to President Obama’s ‘buy American’ solution for the auto sector,” said AIADA President Cody Lusk. “In today’s globalized economy ‘buying American’ can mean anything from buying a Chevy Avalanche built by Mexican workers in Silao, Mexico to buying a Toyota Camry built by Americans in Georgetown, Kentucky.”

“The real issue is that every car purchased in America today is a shot in the arm for our economy, a boost for car dealers, who are the cornerstones of communities all across this country, and a win for American consumers who have the opportunity to choose the vehicles that best meet their driving needs. President Obama must recognize that protectionist policies and statements like “buy American” have no place in America’s economic recovery,” said Lusk.

Critics would maintain that the real issue is the closed markets to American exports of all kinds by the governments of offshore-based automakers, including, Korea, Japan, and China, among others. This is destroying American jobs. So is the refusal of  European and Asian governments to increase deficit spending to stimulate their home markets now that the American market has collapsed, and can no longer be a dumping grounds for their exports. The U.S. Treasury Department has been highly critical of such practices recently, and a trade war is already underway. (more…)