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Top 5 Stories
The Price of Fuel Efficiency
Piecing Together a Supply Chain
Nissan Tells U.S. Dealers It Has Inventory Advantage in May
Akerson Buys $1M GM Shares
Toyota's New Prius Model May Not Arrive for a Year
Top 5 Stories
The Price of Fuel Efficiency

Obama administration set to raise fuel efficiency standards, but by how much?

As the first Toyota Priuses took to U.S. roads more than a decade ago and celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz touted their virtues, enthusiasts predicted that hybrid cars would quickly become mainstream. But there was a problem: They cost too much, and consumers spurned them. Last year, the vehicles represented less than 3 percent of cars and light trucks sold in the United States. Now the Obama administration is deciding how much to push U.S. drivers into fuel-efficient cars. Among the proposals under consideration is one that would lift average fuel economy under the law to as much as 62 mpg by 2025. The preeminent issue in the debate is how much the price of cars — gas, hybrids, plug-ins or whatever inventors come up with — would rise if regulations dictate such standards. On one side are automakers, which warn that the highest targets could add as much as $10,000 to the price of a new car, devastating a U.S. industry ... Sales could plummet by 25 percent, they say, and 220,000 auto manufacturing jobs could be lost. Regulators “need to ensure that their standards do not result in vehicles that consumers cannot afford,” the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group, warned in a letter this week to officials. Another study, conducted at MIT, suggested that even while fuel-efficient cars might save consumers money in the long run, they are reluctant to pay for fuel efficient technology up front.
Source: The Washington Post

Editor's note: NADA believes that the next round of fuel economy regulations for 2017-2025 will only be successful if consumers replace older vehicles with newer, more fuel efficient models. “Regulations that restrict the availability of certain models and could add almost $10,000 to a vehicle will frustrate consumer demand,” said Andy Koblenz, NADA vice president of legal and regulatory affairs. “These enormous costs are a direct result of having three different fuel economy programs. Dealers will continue to advocate for one national standard under the CAFE program, where consumer affordability and choice must be considered."

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Piecing Together a Supply Chain

DETROIT — Two months after Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, Japanese automakers in the United States continue to struggle with significant supply disruptions. But American automakers are mostly winding down their disaster response operations — and though some supply problems remain, they are taking stock of a crisis averted. Because G.M. has been able to keep most of its plants running, analysts project that it will probably surpass Toyota to become the world’s largest automaker again. [The company’s chief executive, Daniel F. Akerson] said it would be a hollow distinction until the Japanese auto industry got back on its feet. “I want to win in the marketplace, but I want to win against a healthy and vibrant Toyota and Honda,” Mr. Akerson said. “Next year, we’ll put the gloves back on, and I’m sure they’ll go right back at us and we’ll go back at them.”
Source: The New York Times

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Nissan Tells U.S. Dealers It Has Inventory Advantage in May

Nissan Motor Co. told U.S. dealers it has more inventory than its Japanese competitors and that its plants haven't been as severely disrupted by the Asian nation's record earthquake. Nissan, sixth in the U.S. by sales volume, began May with a 64-day supply of cars and light trucks, compared with a 48-day supply for Toyota Motor Corp. and 36 days for Honda Motor Co., according to a letter Nissan sent to dealers [Thursday]. "We are in very good shape and have a competitive advantage over our main rivals going into May, and one that is only likely to get stronger as we go through the summer," Al Castignetti, Nissan's vice president of U.S. sales, said in the letter. "I am sure we will also get some surprises as we stretch our suppliers, but we expect to have better pipeline supply than either Toyota or Honda."
Source: The Detroit News

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Akerson Buys $1M GM Shares

U.S. Treasury won't start selling its stock until at least August

The U.S. government may not be selling, but General Motors Co. CEO Dan Akerson is buying. The U.S. Treasury is waiting to sell off its 26.5 percent stake in GM until at least August, and may not relinquish all of its shares until 2012, two people briefed on the matter said Thursday. But Akerson, who has headed the company since Sept. 1, bought nearly $1 million worth of GM stock as a personal investment, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing Thursday. The U.S. Treasury is free to sell its remaining 500 million GM shares after a so-called lockup period expires May 22. But the people briefed on the matter said the government will wait for GM's second-quarter earnings report, likely in August.
Source: The Detroit News

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Toyota's New Prius Model May Not Arrive for a Year

TOKYO -- Some buyers will have to wait until April next year for deliveries of the latest Toyota Prius because of shortages of a new battery that's adding to production delays from the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The launch Friday of the more spacious "Prius a," or "Prius alpha," a revamp of Toyota's popular gasoline-electric hybrid, had been initially set for April. But the March 11 magnitude-9.0 earthquake in northeastern Japan destroyed key parts suppliers and forced a delay. The new Prius model, which looks like a station wagon or a tiny minivan, comes in two versions - one seating five people, set to go on sale in North America later this year as the "Prius V," and one with three rows seating seven people, being offered in Europe mid-2012 called "Prius +." Toyota is aiming to sell 2,000 of the new Prius a month in North America, and another 2,000 a month in Europe.
Source: The Associated Press

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NADA Used Car Guide Redesigns Website
Follow along as editors of the NADA Used Car Guide blog about changes in the used-car and -truck markets on the guide's revamped website, www.nada.com/b2b.

Dealer Executive Education at Babson College August 2011 Class Forming Now
Babson College has the nation's No. 1 ranked MBA program for entrepreneurship, a distinction it has earned for 17 consecutive years.

May Discounts From Lenovo
NADA members can use eCoupon USXMAYSAVINGS2011 at checkout to get an additional 8% off IdeaPad Y Series and an additional 10% off IdeaCentre All in One Desktops.

HP's Inventory Blowout
NADA members can save $330 on HP's Compaq 6005 Pro Small Form Factor Desktop PC and $440 on HP's Compaq 800 Elite Small Form Factor PC with free U.S. ground shipping.

 
NADAFrontPage.com
For comprehensive auto industry news, visit the online news magazine NADAFrontPage.com.
Quotable
"This is the year we finally have the consumer in the mood to buy and the financial providers are in the mood to lend."

    -- Paul Taylor, NADA chief economist, Austin American-Statesman, May 11
Video Highlights
 
GM Sales Chief Discusses Progress, Challenges Ahead (AutoFocus) 

 
2011 NADA-IHS Auto Forum Offers Insiders' View of Present, Future (NADA-TV)

 
Analyst Says Gas Prices Affecting Small, Midsize Used Markets (AutoFocus)


NAD Charitable Foundation Supports Wounded Veterans Initiative (NADA-TV)

Tornado Relief


Upcoming Webinar

Wednesday, May 18, at 1 p.m. (Eastern): “One-Price Selling: In Sync with Today’s Auto Purchasers,” presented by Mark Rikess, CEO of The Rikess Group


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