Daily News Briefs: May 8, 2012

Used-car prices
may be easing for the first time in six months. Automotive News reports that Atlanta-based Manheim's benchmark Used Vehicle Value Index fell to 126.1 last month, ending six months of increases. Used-car prices spiked in the wake of fewer new-car sales during the recession, so April's figures could be a sign they're starting to recede, which is something analysts predicted could happen in May or June. CNW Marketing Research said last month that the average used car sold for $10,971 at a franchised dealership — down just $80 from a year ago. It's the first time in four months the figure has dropped. This is welcome news for used-car shoppers, but time will tell if this signals real relief or just a spring thaw.

In other news:

  • The Detroit News reports GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney took credit yesterday for large parts of the 2008 auto industry bailout, which he opposed at the time. Democrats cried foul.
  • Demand for four-bangers is flying: Toyota announced it will increase manufacturing capacity by 100,000 for four-cylinder engines in the Camry and Camry Hybrid.
  • Bloomberg News reports car-accident fatalities fell for the sixth straight year, dropping 1.7% to 32,310 in 2011 — no doubt coinciding with Americans driving 1.2% fewer miles that year.
  • A new survey from Consumer Reports shows young drivers know the risks of using a cellphone when behind the wheel, but many still do it.

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