LANSING, Mich. (2/5/09)--The Invest in America campaign closed an estimated 25,000 vehicle sales since the program went nationwide Jan. 7, CUcorp, a national credit union marketing company, announced Wednesday. Invest in America is credit unions’ auto loan discount program with auto manufacturers General Motors Corp. (GM) and Chrysler Corp. The program started in December with a four-state pilot program for GM and a 12-state pilot for Chrysler. The campaign includes contractual credit union member incentives from GM and Chrysler. GM is offering supplier pricing, which averages about $1,500 per vehicle, with its Credit Union Member Discount, and Chrysler is offering $500 or $1,000 rebates through its Credit Union Member Cash program. The nationwide program is on a 90-day pilot with GM and a 180-day pilot with Chrysler. All 8,000 U.S. credit unions are eligible to participate in and market the program to nearly 90 million credit union members. Of the 25,000 car and truck sales in the program in January, 90% were accompanied by credit union finance rates, David Adams, CEO of CUcorp and president/CEO of the Michigan Credit Union League, said in a conference call Wednesday. The program is on pace to generate 300,000- to one-million vehicle sales for GM and Chrysler by the end of the year, Adams said. This could result in a $12.5 billion sales boost for the auto manufacturers, and with 90% of the financing at credit unions, it would create a $10 billion loan surge for credit unions nationwide, he added. “There is $160 billion of liquidity as of September 2008 for credit unions nationwide,” Adams said. “About $80 billion is available for Invest in America. It’s projected that this could generate 3.2 million auto sales for GM and Chrysler.” So far, about 1,000 credit unions nationwide have participated in the program and 26 state credit union leagues are supporting it, he added. Credit unions’ market share of auto-loan financing has grown to more than 21% in December from 14% in March, according to Autocount, a national vehicle sales reporting company. Credit unions have shown strong loan growth and auto loan growth during the fourth quarter of last year. Fourth-quarter data are available for 20 of the largest U.S. credit unions, Adams said. “Loan volume has surged,” he said. “Some credit unions posted annualized growth rates of 20% in the fourth quarter. Loan growth is occurring across the board for these credit unions, including new car loans.” “Invest in America” also is a vehicle for membership growth, Adams noted. “In 2008, credit unions added two million new members on an existing base of 90 million,” he said. “Also, six of the 20 largest U.S. credit unions experienced membership growth in excess of 10% in 2008. “Invest in America should be a significant stimulus for the U.S. economy,” Adams concluded.