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NADA’s Chief Economist to Provide Economic Updates

Apr 20, 2007

Paul Taylor, Chief Economist at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) will be providing monthly economic updates to NJ CAR and other automotive trade associations across the country. The Coalition will pass this information on to its dealer members through periodic NewsLetter articles and postings on the NJ CAR Website (

February Light Vehicle Sales

Nationally, February light vehicle sales were down .6% compared to 2006. The February snow, ice and colder-than-average temperatures in the Midwest and all along the Atlantic coast were a factor. Some bounce back in sales in March and April should be expected, as weather will be less of a factor during those months.

Market segments enjoying increased sales in February include Crossover Utility Vehicles (CUVs), up 14.1%; small cars, up 2.8%; and pick-up trucks, up 2.2%.

Gasoline Prices

Gasoline prices should moderate as the winter heating season ends. Then, expect the typical gradual gas price increase over the summer driving season, although prices are not expected to exceed $2.80 per gallon at its peak. This should provide a better outlook for consumers who saw prices over $3.00 per gallon in 2006 and worried that prices would climb to as high as $4 or $5 per gallon.

The fall of gasoline prices in 2006 helped increase the value of used trucks, SUVs and large sedans in the used vehicle market, helping trade-in values and strengthening overall average used vehicle prices.

The Economy Ahead

A continued correction in the stock market will tend to moderate luxury vehicle sales, but renewed stock price appreciation should help sales. Luxury car sales are down 2.8% year-to-date compared to the same period in 2006.