WASHINGTON - The General Services Administration (GSA) has finally approved new contracts for the 2010 buying season, according to the Federal Times.

A GSA spokeswoman told the Times on Jan. 22 that the contracts had just been issued.

2010 marks the first year of a new five-year contract between GSA and automakers. GSA awards new contracts every five years and modifies the prices for those vehicles during each subsequent year of the five-year contract.

Without new contracts in place, automakers have not been able to sell any new vehicles to agencies, which are required to purchase their vehicles through GSA. Leasing vehicles through GSA also is on hold, since GSA purchases the vehicles it leases to agencies using the same contracts that are negotiated for all vehicle purchases.

Most vehicles purchased in a given year are ordered in January, when GSA orders vehicles to lease to other agencies, officials said. GSA sales account for roughly two-thirds of the vehicles purchased by the government each year.

GSA purchased 63,500 vehicles in 2009 for $1.4 billion, not counting stimulus-related purchases. Purchases for 2010 should be around the same level, GSA officials have said, reported the Times.