Archive for June, 2009

New Camaro is a big hit

GM says it can’t keep up with the demand for the new Camaro muscle car, which may be getting a bump from the new movie release  “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” in which it is featured.

There are no financial incentives set aside for the car, either, and it is reportedly selling above the $23,000 sticker price across the country. Dealers apparently can’t keep them in stock.

It’s worth noting that “Camaro” is one of the top searched terms on

“The moral of the story is: design still sells,” said Erich Merkle, an independent auto analyst. “The American automakers can make a comeback if they keep their eye on the ball and design vehicles people have to have.”

via GM Says Orders for Camaro Sports Cars Outrun Supply (Update1) –


Cash For Clunkers becomes law – but watch out for scams

President Obama signed the Cash For Clunkers bill today, which gives gas hog owners the chance to convert their old rides into government cash vouchers up to $4,500. It goes into effect in 30 days under the direction of the Transportation Department and will be effective for the rest of the year.

But look out. Officials are already warning folks of scams
that suggest you have to “sign up” to participate.

…be wary of any site that says you have to register to participate in the program, or asks you for any personal information. NHTSA reminds consumers, “You do not need a voucher and you are not required to sign up or enroll in this program. Participating new car dealers will apply a credit, reducing the price you pay at the time of your purchase or lease, provided the vehicle you buy or lease and the vehicle you trade in meet the program requirements. The dealer will then obtain reimbursement from the government.”

via Cash for Clunkers News – U.S. News Rankings and Reviews.

Check out Iwanna’s local car dealer inventories here.

Cash for Clunkers zooms on Google

“Cash for clunkers” has suddenly zoomed to the top of Google Trends today, thanks to the Senate passing the program which will give consumers the ability to turn in older cars for $3,500-$4,500 in cash vouchers to buy new ones.

The Senate passed the Cash for Clunkers Program today, which gives consumers with cars that get less than 18 miles per gallon the ability to turn them in for a $3,500 or $4,500 cash voucher. The bill was nearly defeated by Republicans, but Democratic support saved the day in part due to Obama’s lobbying of the program. The President still needs to sign the bill into law.

via Senate Passes Cash for Clunkers Program | Green Business | Reuters.

Browse car offerings at here.

Spending more to keep old cars on the road

A leading market research company that tracks auto parts sales says that several aftermarket car parts categories are showing increases.

“It now appears that consumers are recognizing that they will need to spend more on service and repairs to keep their vehicles on the road longer.”

via NPD Finds Consumers Beginning to Spend to Keep Aging Vehicles on the Road

Auto Parts Volume Change % Year over Year

The NPD Group’s Automotive Aftermarket Industry Monitor (AAIM) tracks retail and commercial sales at over 18,000 auto parts stores in the United States.

Considering the average U.S. car payment is $380-460 a month, it’s not surprising people are turning to more frugal solutions.

The auto parts subcategory represents a large portion of the total free classified ads in’s Wheels (automotive) category, and a large audience.

Recovery will be a long slog for Asheville

IHS Global Insight forecast for Asheville

A leading economic forecaster predicts Asheville will be one of the slowest metropolitan areas in the country to return to pre-recession employment — putting Western North Carolina in the same boat as Rust Belt towns such as Flint and Detroit, Mich.

IHS Global Insight estimates Asheville won’t recover fully until the third quarter of 2014.

Most of the country — 286 of 325 metro areas covered in the IHS analysis_ aren’t likely to regain their pre-recession employment levels until at least 2012. Of these areas, 112 probably won’t return to their recent peaks until 2014 or later. These include Rust Belt towns such as Cleveland, Dayton and Akron, Ohio; Detroit, Warren and Flint, Mich.; the hurricane-ravaged Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss., area and the greater Los Angeles region, where the housing bubble and high unemployment have strangled the local economy…..

via naked capitalism: Prospects for Employment Recovery: Less Than Cheery?.

The Sacramento Bee’s website has a good interactive graphic detailing the IHS data. You can find it here.

Stay on top of jobs in Western North Carolina at Iwanna’s new online Business & Agriculture section.

Asheville unemployment at 9%

Government reported today that the pace of job losses slowed in May – 345,000 as compared to 700,000 per month during the first quarter of the year.

In normal times, the loss of so many jobs in a single month would have been interpreted as a calamity. But 18 months into the longest recession since the 1930s, economists said the milder pace of job losses indicated that the economy was gradually leveling off as government stimulus money trickled out and businesses reined in their budgets and payrolls. “Things are still getting worse, but the pace of decline has slowed down,” said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s.

via U.S. Pace of Job Losses Slowed in May –

Here is a neat interactive chart showing U.S. employment over the past five years and especially how it has changed dramatically in the last year or so. Well worth watching.

Earlier this week, a Wall Street Journal blogger showed Asheville hovering arounnd 9% unemployment. In comparison, the latest government report says the jobless rate is 9.4% nationally, the highest in 25 years.

You can check out Iwanna’s job listings here. Be sure also to check out the new Iwanna Business & Agriculture section online and in print each week.

Positive forces at work in housing market

The CEO of one of the nation’s largest homebuilders has a positive feeling, even though Hovnanian stock fell yesterday as reports showed mortgage applications dropped last week as interest rates rose.

When you look at the MLS data for many markets today you see two positive forces at work. First you see absolute sales numbers have picked up and second you see inventory levels have come down. In some markets you could almost make the case that the month’s supply has corrected too much. Believe it or not, by normal standards there is actually a shortage of homes based on the current sales pace in certain markets including some of the markets that were the most over supplied not long ago.

via Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc. F2Q09 (Qtr End 04/30/09) Earnings Call Transcript — Seeking Alpha.

You can get a good feel for housing market changes by following our Castles & Coves section on

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June 2009
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