MCLEAN, VA – The outlook for 2006 is for the U. S. economy to expand at a rate slightly above its current trend (about 3 percent), according to participants in the Chicago Fed's annual Automotive Outlook Symposium.

Light vehicle sales are predicted to remain steady. Paul Taylor, NADA's chief economist, predicts the sales outlook from the dealers' perspective at 16.8 million units for the year. With high gas prices, large cars, mid-sized cars, and crossover utility vehicles (CUV) are doing well year-to-date. Taylor said that dealers, on average, continued to be optimistic about the future, especially for their pre-certified used cars.