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Outlook for Auto Parts Industry Improves as Auto Sales Continue to Rise

March 5, 2013 - NEW YORK, NY

Data released by Autodata last week showed that auto sales continued to rise in the month of February. Cheap financing and pent-up demand are driving auto sales. This trend is expected to continue in 2013, which augurs well for auto parts companies such as LKQ Corporation (NASDAQ: LKQ) and TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. (NYSE: TRW). According to data released by Autodata last week, automakers sold 1.19 million vehicles during the month of February, which represents an increase of 3.7% over the same period in the previous year.

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Auto sales are being driven by cheap financing and with interest rates in the U.S. expected to remain at record low levels for a while, the trend is expected to continue in 2013. Auto sales have also been boosted by huge pent-up demand. As auto sales continue to rise, auto parts industry can expect a robust year ahead. However, Europe remains a worry for the industry. While the Eurozone has shown signs of stabilizing, the region is still now growing. The European Commission recently forecast that the Eurozone economy will contract in 2013. Auto parts industry will be looking to growth in U.S. and China to offset the weakness in Europe.

Last week, LKQ Corporation reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2012. The company's net income for the fourth quarter of 2012 was $62.2 million, or $0.21 per share. For the full year 2012, the company reported net income of $261.2 million, or $0.87 per share. LKQ Corporation's revenue for 2012 grew 26% to a record $4.1 billion. Revenue in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $1.07 billion, compared to $939.6 million reported for the same period in the previous year.

Robert Wagman, President and CEO of LKQ Corporation, noted that the company was able to delivery solid growth across many financial performance metrics in 2012 despite the multiple challenges it faced throughout the year. Wagman noted that in 2012, the company completed a record 30 acquisitions in North America and the milestone is a testament to the company's strength in identifying and integrating businesses that allow it to expand its geographic footprint and broaden its product offerings to continue its growth.

Last month, TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. reported 2012 sales of $16.4 billion, which is a record for the company. The company's 2012 sales rose 7% on a year-over-year basis, excluding the impact of currency movements and divestures. The increase was driven by improved vehicle production volumes in North America and a higher level of module sales worldwide. This was partially offset by lower vehicle production in Europe.

John C. Plant, Chairman and CEO of TRW Automotive Holdings Corp., said last month that the company's success and ability to build on its positive momentum despite the challenges the automotive industry faced in Europe in 2012, demonstrate its resilience and strong market position.


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