Invest In America Projects Strong 2011

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LIVONIA, Mich.-The Invest in America CU car-buying discount program continues to see steady volume of about 10,000 vehicles financed and purchased each month.

And with auto sales rising, David Adams is optimistic the program will have a strong year in 2011.

"The first year the program was borne out of a crisis for the automakers," said the CEO of CU Solutions Group, the CUSO of the Michigan league that runs Invest In America. "So they needed credit unions desperately. It was not surprising that GM and Chrysler went all in and energized their dealerships. That was a boom time unlike anything we may ever see again."

In 2010, Adams acknowledged GM and Chrysler faced financial challenges that forced the companies to retrench and pull back on their Invest in America partnership, with Chrysler going so far as to withdraw.

"I think 2011 may well become a more typical year for Invest in America. We have had some success recently with private offers and see some steady growth in the core program with GM. But Invest in America depends heavily on CU enthusiasm. I stress that again and again: If credit unions like the concept of special discounts for domestic auto manufacturers, they have to get behind this and promote it to generate results."

But with the pick-up in the economy and rising new car sales, Adams reminded there is now a bigger piece of the pie to chase and that CUs should not shy away on the new car market due to competition. He said Invest in America is working on more special offers with GM and the program remains in talks with Chrysler.

"We just completed a 60-day private offer with GM that resulted in 400 additional sales that were mostly financed through credit unions, and we hope to see the volume generated by private offers move higher this year. We continue to be optimistic that Chrysler will come back, hopefully with private-offer approach. I am not as optimistic we will get a blanket discount for Chrysler like we have with GM."

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