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Ally: Auto Dealers Optimistic in 2012

February 07, 2012

DETROIT — A survey by Ally Financial revealed that nearly half the dealers polled at the 2012 National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention expect their sales to increase by 10 to 20 percent this year, and almost another third are even more bullish in expecting sales to grow greater than 20 percent.

Nearly 75 percent of dealers surveyed expect consumer confidence to be the key in sustaining sales momentum, surpassing the availability of incentives or vehicle inventory as driving factors, according to Ally Financial. About 60 percent said the credit profiles of customers coming into their showrooms are improving, while 53 percent said they expect the small-car vehicle segment to experience the most growth this year.

“Given improved consumer confidence, full-year sales for 2012 could surpass the 14 million-unit level in the U.S. and position the industry for even greater growth in 2013,” said Tim Russi, Ally’s executive vice president for North American auto operations. “This could factor into dealer decisions on facilities, hiring and ordering.”

Full survey results:

1)    What do you expect to be the key factor in sustaining sales momentum in the industry in 2012?

a. Consumer confidence - 74.83%

b. Incentives – 16.33%

c. Vehicle inventory 8.84%

2)     What vehicle segment will experience the most growth in 2012?

a.    Small Cars – 52.38%

b.    Mid-size/Large Cars – 24.49%

c.    Trucks/Crossovers/SUVs – 23.13%

3)    What is your overall outlook on new vehicles sales in 2012?

a.    Positive – 92.52%

b.    Negative – 1.36%

c.    Flat – 6.12%

4)   Are you planning for increased sales in 2012 versus last year? If “Yes,” by how much?

a.   I do not expect an increase - 0.68%

b.    0 – 10% - 21.77%

c.    10% – 20% - 46.94%

d.    20% – 30% - 22.45%

e.    30% – 40% - 6.12%

f.    More than 40% - 2.04%

5)    Would you describe the credit profiles of car shoppers at your dealership as improving, diminishing or staying flat?

a.    Improving – 59.86%

b.    Diminishing – 4.76%

c.    Staying flat – 35.37 %

6)    What is the top purchase driver for your customers?

a.    Fuel economy – 14.29%

b.    Price/monthly payment – 68.71%

c.    Styling – 12.24%

d.    Technology/options – 4.76%

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