Cars.com News Briefs: April 11, 2012
Here's what we have our eye on today:
- Used-car prices for compact and midsize cars may peak in the next few weeks, an analyst from the National Automobile Dealers Association told Automotive News. A shortage of late-model used cars, which we've observed for some time, will combine with rising gas prices and higher demand for fuel-efficient cars to push smaller used cars to peak prices this month or in May. Values for used compacts and midsize cars have already risen 4% since the beginning of the year, NADA says.
- Strong demand in the U.S. and China sent first-quarter sales at BMW and Volkswagen to record highs, The Wall Street Journal reports. Luxury-car exports have helped Germany weather Europe's sovereign-debt crisis, which has spawned government austerity programs and hurt consumer confidence across the continent. Mercedes-Benz rode the same wave, reporting sales gains in China and the U.S.
- Audi may acquire Italian motorcycle maker Ducati next week, Reuters reports. The move, which Reuters attributes to two unnamed sources, came after Volkswagen's luxury brand assessed Ducati's financials. It would push Audi into new competition with rival German automaker BMW, which has built motorcycles since 1923.
- A new report from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute — distinct from a UMTRI report earlier this week — says new cars in America topped 24 mpg in the EPA's window-sticker combined rating for the first time, The Detroit News reports. Gas mileage hit 24.1 mpg in March, up from 23.9 mpg in February. It increased 4 mpg, or 20%, since 2007, UMTRI says. That differs from the federal government's Corporate Average Fuel Economy program, which rates today's new-car fleet at 27.3 mpg through unadjusted 1970s-era calculations.
- A new study from Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research finds the auto industry accounts for 13% — some $91.5 billion — of all government tax revenues at the state level. Production, sales, service and usage of cars also amounts to "at least $43 billion" in federal tax revenues, according to CAR. The majority of revenue ($89 billion) comes from fuel taxes, plus license and registration fees paid by drivers.