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Lansing area's 2 plants play key role in GM plans

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Collectively, the industry plans to make 2.93 million cars and trucks in North America between Jan. 1 and March 31, according to Ward's AutoInfoBank, up 69 percent from 1.73 million built in the first three months of 2009.

Sign of recovery

That's still less than the 3.58 million vehicles assembled in the first quarter of 2008, but it is still some of the first tangible evidence the long-anticipated recovery is real.

"Consumers may be scared, but they don't like that rusting hulk in the driveway," said Sean McAlinden, chief economist with the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor.

McAlinden's 2010 U.S. sales forecast of 12.4 million new cars and trucks is a bit more optimistic than other experts who expect something closer to 11.5 million. Either, however, would be substantial improvement from the 2009 mark of 10.4 million, the industry's lowest volume in nearly 30 years.

The production increase is important because it means workers will log more hours and earn slightly bigger paychecks. It also means that dealers will have enough vehicles to satisfy customers seeking a particular color or option combination.

The average age of vehicles in American driveways has risen from 6.7 years in 2001 to 8.1 years in 2008, says R.L. Polk & Co.

Read More: http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article...312/1004/news03

Last year GM shut down a lot and just burned off inventory. So car sales slowed, but production was way down.

The average age of vehicles is interesting.


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