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Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
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Top 5 Stories
A Resurgent Chrysler Says It Is Here to Stay
Ford Adds Jobs, Stokes Hope
GM Again Sees Need for GMAC
In Detroit, Toyota Vows to Earn Trust
GM Product Chief: We Are Ready for $4 Gas with More Compact Cars
Top 5 Stories
A Resurgent Chrysler Says It Is Here to Stay

DETROIT — A year ago, Chrysler didn’t have a single new vehicle to display at its hometown auto show, and rival executives were taking bets on how long the smallest and most troubled of Detroit’s three automakers would last. Now it is looking like the obituaries were premature. After stabilizing sales in the United States last year, Chrysler is in the midst of a product blitz that company executives and industry analysts say should help it pay off its government loans and re-emerge as a public company this year. On Monday, the company also unveiled a new version of its flagship sedan, the Chrysler 300. It is an unapologetically large car that Mr. Marchionne predicted would appeal to consumers not interested in downsizing. “I think this company is slowly proving it can come back,” said David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. “They have been helped quite a bit by relatively stable fuel prices.”
Source: The New York Times

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Ford Adds Jobs, Stokes Hope

7,500 hires could signal upward swing for U.S. auto industry.

After years of dismal sales, bailouts, and layoffs, the budding recovery of the American automotive industry got a boost Monday when Ford Motor Company announced it will add 7,000 U.S. jobs over the next two years. Ford CEO Alan Mulally made new hiring plans public at a presentation kicking off the Detroit Auto Show. The new jobs are just the latest in a string of positive economic news from the company, which, unlike rivals Chrysler and General Motors, did not take government funds from the Obama administration. Last week Ford released annual sales figures that showed a 19 percent increase in full-year sales from 2009 and a 17 percent increase in retail sales. Ford has instituted a global product strategy that focuses on manufacturing “global cars,” according to George Magliano, director of automotive research for North America at IHS Global Insight. “It’s part and parcel of a much bigger strategy that Ford has employed,” Magliano said. “They've certainly revitalized their mid-sized car offerings starting with the Fusion, then they brought the Edge. Now they have the Focus and the Fiesta, they are global cars. It’s basically the same car throughout the world.”
Source: National Journal

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GM Again Sees Need for GMAC

DETROIT — General Motors Co. is revisiting the idea of buying back part of its former GMAC auto loan business, half a year after it acquired a subprime loan company to help fill the role of an in-house lender, according to three people familiar with the situation. GM executives are weighing the idea of a new approach to Ally Financial, the renamed GMAC, to give the auto maker's dealers better access to wholesale credit. GM, far more than its rivals, depends on outside banks for the majority of its consumer lending and dealer financing. That leaves GM more dependent and exposed to risk than competitors that are able to use their in-house lenders to bolster sales in tough times. Dealers, who pay for cars and trucks when they arrive in showrooms, use wholesale credit to finance that inventory. If dealers are unable to access credit or are forced to pay high rates, they risk being unable to obtain vehicles.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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In Detroit, Toyota Vows to Earn Trust

DETROIT — The auto show here this week is shaping up to be a celebration of the American car industry’s resurgence. But the appearance on Monday of Akio Toyoda, the Toyota president and grandson of the Japanese carmaker’s founder, was a reminder that the biggest foreign player in the American market is refusing to be counted out. Mr. Toyoda, making his first visit to an American auto show, stood onstage at Detroit’s Cobo Center to declare that everyone at his company is “committed to continue earning the trust and confidence of American consumers.” He went on to introduce three new versions of Toyota’s popular hybrid car, the Prius — a larger one, a smaller one and one that plugs in — in an effort to shift public attention to the company’s innovative new products rather than the flaws in its current ones. To a small group of reporters who interviewed him later Monday with the help of a translator, Mr. Toyoda carefully explained how Toyota’s employees would put their “heart and soul” into every vehicle, “just as mothers make rice bowls for their children.”
Source: The New York Times

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GM Product Chief: We Are Ready for $4 Gas with More Compact Cars

DETROIT — General Motors Co. is in much better shape to handle a surge in gasoline prices than it was during the last spike three years ago, GM's product chief said (Monday.) Tom Stephens, vice chairman of global product operations, said customers will be able to choose from an array of small vehicles across its brands -- something they weren't able to do in 2007 and 2008, when gas prices hit $4 a gallon. “The last time it spiked up, we didn't really have a complete, full-line portfolio,” Stephens said on the sidelines of the auto show here. “What we were missing the most were small and compact cars. We were really in a bad way there.” GM (unveiled) two new cars (Monday): the Buick Verano, the brand's first compact in 20 years, and the Chevrolet Sonic, a subcompact that will replace the Aveo. Those small cars come on the heels of the plug-in hybrid ChevroletVolt launched last month, and the compact Chevrolet Cruze, which hit showrooms in September.
Source: Automotive News

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Quotable
 
“I think this company is slowly proving it can come back."

    -- David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Chrysler, which is in the midst of a product blitz that industry analysts say should help it pay off its government loans and re-emerge as a public company this year, The New York Times, Jan. 10

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