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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Firms Call For Tax-Credit When Buying Electric Plug-in Vehicles

A union of car makers, battery manufacturers, utility operators and auto transport companies called on Congress to put forward tax credits for buying all-electric plug-in vehicles as part of a $128 billion program to acquire seven million such vehicles on the road by 2018.

The "cash for volts" technique is part of an effort by the Electrification Coalition, a 13-member group that comprises Nissan Motor Corp. and shipping giant FedEx Corp., to campaign for more government support for electric vehicles and the infrastructure required to make them more appealing to consumers and businesses.

The group has sketched a plan to put 100 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030, starting with pilot projects in six to eight U.S. cities. The Obama Administration in the beginning of this year awarded $2.4 billion in grants supported by the economic stimulus program to subsidize development of electric vehicle production in the U.S.

The tax credits would make up for the high costs of electric vehicles and the sustaining infrastructure. Auto industry executives worry that unless there is a considerable increase in gasoline prices, most consumers won't see the value of exclusive electric vehicles that have ranges between refueling stops of 100 miles or less.

The group notes that Japan and the European Union already offers huge financial incentives to encourage electric vehicle purchases.

posted by All America Auto Transport @ 5:17 AM permanent link  

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Auto Industry beginning to stabilize

Autodata Corp. has reported that the total sales of cars and light trucks were unchanged at just over 838,000 compared with October of last year, but rose 12 percent from a gloomy September 2009. The results indicated that some consumers have started to spend again and the sputtering economy is beginning to pull out of trouble.

"It's ... a fairly stable kind of footing that the industry is getting under it," said Gary Dilts, senior vice president of global automotive operations for J.D. Power and Associates.

Last month's sales, if estimated for the whole year, rose to 10.5 million after falling to 9.2 million in September, the month after the government's Cash for Clunkers rebate ran out. Analysts said the statistics are good for an average weak October, but they're still far short of the 17 million annual rates from the late 1990s and early 2000s.

"Clearly we're seeing improvement in the economy and in the industry. It isn't huge, but it's a good sign given that Cash for Clunkers is over," said Mike DiGiovanni, General Motors Co.'s executive director of global market and industry analysis.

The leading winner among major carmakers was South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co., which saw sales skyrocket 49 percent to 31,005 vehicles, boosted by the Elantra small sedan. Japan's Nissan Motor Co. came second with a 5.6 percent gain, followed by GM at 4.7 percent, assisted by strong pickup truck sales, the performance of new models and the highest inducements in the industry. It was General Motor's first year-over-year monthly sales boost in 21 months.

Toyota Motor Corp. said its sales edged up less than a percent, while Honda sales were flat.

Ford Motor Co.'s sales rose 3 percent and it gain U.S. market share for the 12th time in 13 months as its critically acclaimed vehicles continue to grab buyers from competitors. Ford has benefited from consumer goodwill as it has not taken government bailout money or gone into bankruptcy protection, as General Motors and Chrysler did.

After months of roller-coaster results, the U.S. automobile industry has shown some steadiness hope this continues...

posted by All America Auto Transport @ 1:16 AM permanent link  

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Monday, November 09, 2009

U.S. To Be More Selective With Automakers

Automakers can expect the U.S. government to be conscientious to its multibillion-dollar stake in their businesses next year and selective in its efforts to reform the industry.

Government emphasis has varied from bailouts and bankruptcy to investment oversight and innovation, with congressional and White House demands for greater fuel-efficiency driving the agenda.

"There's not much appetite for further support to the auto industry," U.S. Representative Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat whose district comprises Chrysler headquarters, told Reuters in an interview. "You can still make the case for strategic (help) but you have to make it in a more thoughtful way."

Taxpayers own a majority stake in General Motors GM.UL and a 9 percent interest in Chrysler after government-led salvages tallying more than $64 billion. The administration pledges a hands-off approach as the companies seek out to restructure themselves in an improving but still uncertain sales market.

"Any huge shareholder, like in the case of General Motors, inevitably is going to keep an eye on things," Jerry York, a former Detroit executive and industry adviser, told the Reuters Autos Summit this week. "As long as things are going reasonably well, they'll likely stay in the background."

The ability of GM and Chrysler to stand on their own and repay at least some of the massive loans hinges on a rebound in American housing and employment, industry executives and consultants say.

Mike Jackson, chief executive of the leading U.S. auto retailer AutoNation Inc (AN.N), highly praised the government rescue of automakers this year. But he stressed policymakers and Congress need to think more broadly in upcoming applications.

He said the brittle auto industry "cannot handle" swings in gasoline prices and called cost volatility "the killer."

Jackson, York and others have recommended a novel but politically unpalatable approach -- a regular, predictable increase in federal gasoline taxes. This would push consumers enduringly towards the most fuel-efficient technologies and give producers the proper lead time to roll them out.

posted by All America Auto Transport @ 1:23 AM permanent link  

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