Auto Purchase Outlook Index Perks up in February

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TechnoMetrica's AutoView Auto Purchase Outlook Index improves in February as national economic confidence rebounds.

What we are seeing is a mild resurgence among consumers who have been beaten down by bad news coming out of the housing and credit markets, the weakness of the US dollar overseas and intangibles - like election year economy bashing - that drown out the more positive sides of the picture

Americans were just a bit more bullish about purchasing or leasing a new automobile in February, nudging TechnoMetrica's AutoView Auto Purchase Outlook Index up 5.4 points, or 6.4%, to reach 88.8 (vs. 83.5 in January). This upward movement followed the broader up tick in consumer confidence registered by TechnoMetrica's IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index, which improved by 1.3 points (3%) to reach 44.5 in February.

However, the pictures being painted by both indices only represent modest improvements: February's reading of the AutoView Auto Purchase Outlook Index is still 7.5 points below its 12-month average of 96.3, while the IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index has now been treading in pessimistic territory for 11 months in a row.

Note: Index readings correlate with demand and purchase plans for new automobiles. Higher index scores indicate higher demand, while lower scores indicate lower demand. The baseline score for the Index is 100.

"What we are seeing is a mild resurgence among consumers who have been beaten down by bad news coming out of the housing and credit markets, the weakness of the US dollar overseas and intangibles - like election year economy bashing - that drown out the more positive sides of the picture," said Raghavan Mayur, president of TIPP, a unit of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, IBD's polling partner.

February's Breakdown:
This month, 15% of adult American consumers indicated that they were very (7%) or somewhat likely (7%) to purchase or lease a new vehicle within the next 6 months.

Most of those who indicated that they were likely to buy within six months plan on making their purchase within the next 4 to 6 months (73%), while smaller numbers plan on doing it within the next one month (12%) or within 2 to 3 months (14%).

Considering vehicle type, mid-sized cars (27%) made the top of the list of vehicles likely buyers were most likely to purchase, followed by large SUVs (15%) and small SUVs (13%). By make, nearly half (48%) of likely buyers say that they will purchase an American brand, while about a third (35%) are looking at Asian brands and less than a tenth (8%) are considering a European brand.

When likely buyers were asked to pick the brand they were most likely to purchase if they were to make their purchase today, 17% picked Toyota, while 10% selected Chevy and 9% selected Honda and Ford, respectively.

In total, luxury brands were the brands of choice among 12% of likely buyers, while 78% said they would purchase non-luxury brands.

Changes in Demand:
AutoView tracks demand for new automobiles among 26 different demographic groups.

In February, demand increased among 15 of them while falling among 10 and remaining unchanged for one.

The largest gains occurred among Midwesterners (up 6.9 percentage points), followed by 45 to 64 year olds (+6.1) and those with annual household incomes above $75K (+3.7), while the largest drop in demand occurred among those earning between $50K and $75K per year (down 9.3 percentage points).

Other declining groups included Black and Hispanic consumers (-6.8), Westerners (-4.1) and those who have completed some college (-2.0).

For more information about the AutoView Auto Purchase Outlook Index, or any of our other auto reports, please call 1-800-328-8324.

About AutoView:
AutoView is the automotive research arm of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, a nationally recognized research firm and a leader in the publication of economic and industry-specific consumer confidence and purchase plan indicators. In addition to the Automotive Purchase Outlook Index, AutoView also publishes the Alternative Fuels Tracker, a quarterly tracking study that monitors the development and growth of the alternative fuel vehicle market. Each year, AutoView also publishes 30+ reports focusing on different automotive topics.

The following report titles are slated for 2008 publication:
Affluent Market I (perspectives)
Affluent Market II (psychographic segments)
African American Market
All Terrain Vehicle Market
Alternative Fuels Overview
Automobile Financing
Baby Boomer Market
Brand Reputation I (Bi-Annual)
Brand Reputation II (Bi-Annual)
Certified Pre-Owned I (Bi-Annual)
Certified Pre-Owned II (Bi-Annual)
Compact SUVs
Crossover Utility Vehicle
Family Vehicles
Lifestyles & Automobiles (youth)
Lifestyles & Automobiles (all consumers)
Light Truck Market
Media and Auto
Motorcycle/Motocross Market
New Automobile Purchase Process
Off Road Consumer Profile
Off-road Vehicles
Onboard Entertainment
Online Auto Shopper
Small Business Market
Small Cars
Sports Marketing and Sponsorship
Telematics
U.S. Auto Aftermarket
U.S. Trends and Forecast - Mid-year
U.S. Trends and Forecast - Year-end
Used Vehicle Market I
Used Vehicle Market II
Youth Market
Youth Oriented Vehicles (Tuner market)

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