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Top 5 Stories
2010 a Record Year for 'Voluntary' Recalls
Issa Reaches Out to Private Sector with New Website
US Seeks Help from Carmakers on Distracted Driving
Mitsubishi to Kill Current U.S.-Made Lineup, Bring in New Platform
GM Names First Woman to Lead Global Product Development
Top 5 Stories
2010 a Record Year for 'Voluntary' Recalls

The auto industry recalled about 20.3 million vehicles last year, and three of the five automakers with the most recalls were Japanese, according to figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Wednesday. It was the fourth-largest number of vehicles recalled since the safety agency began keeping track in 1966. The nadir was 2004, when 30.8 million vehicles were recalled. In contrast, about 16.6 million vehicles were recalled in 2009. About 5.4 million of the 20.3 million vehicles were recalled as the result of defect investigations initiated by the agency. That is the lowest number since 2001. The other 14.9 million vehicles were listed by the agency as being part of “voluntary” recalls. “More and more recalls are being initiated by automakers, and we think this shows that manufacturers are taking their responsibility for safety seriously,” (Karen Aldana, a spokeswoman for the agency) said.
Source: The New York Times

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Issa Reaches Out to Private Sector with New Website

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has said he wants to hear from American business owners about burdensome regulators, and now he is streamlining the process for doing so. On the heels of a December letter asking for private sector input on which regulations were impeding job growth, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee is doubling down on his outreach with a new website, www.AmericanJobCreators.com. There, business owners can fill out a form, detailing their business, contact information and their particular gripes or praise of governmental influence on their work.
Source: The Hill

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US Seeks Help from Carmakers on Distracted Driving

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will seek help from Detroit automakers next week on his campaign to combat distracted driving. LaHood has already held meetings with GM chief executive Dan Akerson and overseas manufactures and plans to visit executives of Ford Motor Co and Chrysler, which is run by Italy's Fiat SpA (FIA.MI), next Tuesday in Detroit. LaHood has not pressed industry to address hands-free phone applications or other gadgets that some safety advocates deem distracting and said the Detroit meetings would have an open agenda. "We believe the automakers can be partners and we need their help," LaHood said.
Source: Reuters

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Mitsubishi to Kill Current U.S.-Made Lineup, Bring in New Platform

TOKYO — Mitsubishi Motors Corp. plans to kill its current lineup of U.S.-made vehicles, including the Eclipse sporty car and Endeavor crossover, over the next three years and switch to producing global vehicles at its Illinois plant, partly to target export markets. Mitsubishi's factory in Normal, Ill., its only U.S. assembly plant, will pick up new models based on the platform underpinning the Outlander crossover, Outlander Sport small crossover and Lancer sedan. The company plans to announce early next month what model will debut there. (President Osamu Masuko said) that he intends to keep Mitsubishi's U.S. retail network stable at around 400 dealerships.
Source: Automotive News

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GM Names First Woman to Lead Global Product Development

DETROIT — Mary Barra, General Motors Co.'s new global product chief, says her priority is to give GM customers what they want in their cars and trucks — and fast. "We're going to look at every aspect of the way we do our work to make sure we're doing it as efficiently as possible," Barra told The Detroit News on Thursday. Barra, a 49-year-old electrical engineer by training, is the first woman to hold the critical job of overseeing product development at GM, or at any other Detroit automaker. Barra, whose appointment was announced Thursday, replaces Vice Chairman Tom Stephens, effective Feb. 1. Barra's manufacturing expertise will serve her well, even though her resume is light on product design experience, said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with research firm IHS Automotive in Lexington, Mass. "This is the type of position where it's all about who you have below you. She's the conductor in a really good orchestra."
Source: The Detroit News

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Quotable
 
“More and more recalls are being initiated by automakers, and we think this shows that manufacturers are taking their responsibility for safety seriously."

    — Karen Aldana, a spokeswoman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which on Wednesday said the auto industry recalled about 20.3 million vehicles last year, The New York Times, Jan. 21

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