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Top 5 Stories
Toyota Extends N. American Production Cuts
Nissan to Increase North American Production
New Brands Face a Tougher U.S. Entry, Retailers Say
Dealers Hunt for Costly Used Cars
Google to Help U.S. Find Electric-Vehicle Charging Stations
Top 5 Stories
Toyota Extends N. American Production Cuts

DETROIT — Toyota Motor Corp. has extended production cuts at its North American factories into early June as it struggles to deal with parts shortages caused by the earthquake that hit Japan. The disruptions caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami continue to spread. Toyota has warned dealers to expect shortages well into this summer, and has changed paint colors on many models because of chemical shortages from a supplier. Toyota said in a statement that production will be suspended in North America on Mondays and Fridays from April 26 through June 3. During the same period, plants will run at half capacity on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. "We are trying to continue production as much as possible and keep our work force intact in order to facilitate a smooth transition back to full production when all parts are available," Steve St. Angelo, executive vice president of Toyota's North American manufacturing, said in a statement.
Source: The Associated Press

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Nissan to Increase North American Production

NEW YORK — Nissan Motor Co. said today it will build an Infiniti in Tennessee as it ramps up production in North America by 2015 and offers more customers a chance to buy a Leaf. The Japanese automaker said today at the New York International Auto Show it will up production in North America to more than 85 percent of vehicles sold by 2015, up from 69 percent today. The move will boost production from 1.1 million vehicles in 2010 to more than 1.7 million. "With today's announcements, we remain on track to localize our manufacturing base around the world — especially in the Americas. This drive for balance and flexibility across our operations is essential to support our growth plans in the region," said Carlos Tavares, chairman, Nissan Americas. Nissan also said it will offer some new U.S. customers a chance to buy an all-electric Leaf. Nissan expects to sell more than 10,000 Leafs in the United States this year.
Source: The Detroit News

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New Brands Face a Tougher U.S. Entry, Retailers Say

NEW YORK -- Auto dealers often dream of getting in on the ground floor of a new, unproven automotive brand, like, say, another Toyota or Hyundai. But the reality of doing it in 2011 is a lot tougher, a panel of retail executives said [at the NADA/IHS Automotive Forum in New York] Tuesday. The first problem? Automakers today typically require exclusive, stand-alone dealerships -- not so back in 1970. In another challenge, start-up brands have no existing population of vehicles to generate a decent parts and service trade.
Source: Automotive News

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Dealers Hunt for Costly Used Cars

Since the earthquake in Japan, used-vehicle prices have become so volatile that price experts are scrambling to keep up. Dealers, anticipating new-car shortages, are going beyond usual channels to stock used cars, often paying more for those vehicles and then worrying about having shelled out too much. NADA Used Car Guide predicts that with incentives scheduled to expire and some automakers announcing sticker-price increases, average transaction prices on new compact cars such as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus will climb about $850 by the end of June. Jonathan Banks, senior director of editorial and data services at NADA Used Car Guide, says prices of compact cars typically are flat from March to April, but the price of that 2010 Corolla rose another $422, to $13,503, in the first two weeks of this month. He believes the industry will see high prices for much of this year.
Source: Automotive News

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Google to Help U.S. Find Electric-Vehicle Charging Stations

The Obama administration announced two efforts today to boost electric vehicles, including a partnership with search engine giant Google. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory is joining with Google to provide consumers with consistent, up-to-date information about electric vehicle charging stations in communities nationwide. The effort will use Google Maps to coordinate an online network of all U.S. charging stations and will serve as the primary data source for GPS and mapping services tracking electric vehicle charging locations. Chu also today announced the agency is awarding $5 million in new funding for community-based efforts to deploy electric vehicle infrastructure and charging stations.
Source: The Detroit News

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For more auto industry news, visit NADAFrontPage.com

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Quotable
"With today's announcements, we remain on track to localize our manufacturing base around the world — especially in the Americas."

    — Carlos Tavares, chairman, Nissan Americas, announcing today at the New York International Auto Show that Nissan will build an Infiniti in Tennessee as it ramps up production in North America by 2015, The Detroit News, April 20


"I don't think we'll have any problems going forward, given what we know today."

    — GM CEO Dan Akerson said Tuesday at the NADA/IHS Automotive Forum that the company’s biggest near-term challenge is ensuring that shortages do not disrupt its supply chain, Reuters, April 19

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