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Monday, Oct. 24, 2011 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
 
Dealers to States: Give Us a Shield
Bipartisan Group Backs Amendment to Place 'Time Out' on 2017-2025 Standards
VW Likely to Overtake Toyota as Top Carmaker in 2011, GM to Remain Second
Why the UAW Made Peace with Detroit
Fisker, Electric Carmaker Backed by $529 Million U.S. Loan, Balks at Solyndra Comparison
A Century of Chevy, From Cheap Date to America's Sweetheart
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Dealers to States: Give Us a Shield

Jim Peruto, president of Keenan Motor Group in Doylestown, Pa., is about to buy property to build a Mercedes-Benz dealership -- reluctantly. It will replace an existing store that cost $20 million to build just six years ago. Because thousands of American dealers face similar dilemmas, 15 states are bolstering franchise laws to shield dealers from such demands by manufacturers, according to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the National Automobile Dealers Association. 
Source: Automotive News

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Bipartisan Group Backs Amendment to Place 'Time Out' on 2017-2025 Standards

A bipartisan group of 64 House members is urging the Appropriations Committee to adopt language from Reps. Steve Austria (R-Ohio) and John Carter (R-Texas) that would curtail the Obama administration's plan to double fuel economy standards by 2025. The amendment to the fiscal 2012 Interior-Environment Appropriations Bill would force U.S. EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to take a one-year "time out" from their work on the fuel economy standards. The language would return all regulation to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and would require that the agency remain confined to its congressional designation, which only allows the agency to set standards five years out. "At a time when our economy and the auto industry continues to struggle, duplicative and unnecessary regulations will drive down consumer demand and further stifle economic recovery," the letter states. EPA and CARB coordinated with NHTSA to set fuel economy standards at 54.5 mpg for model years 2017-2025. Major automakers agreed to the standards after months of White House negotiations this summer.
Source: E&E News (Subscription required)

Editor's note: The bipartisan Congressional letter points out a key aspect missing from the yet-to-be proposed fuel economy rule: the consumer. While the federal government can compel automakers to build a fleet that meets their goals, the EPA cannot force consumers to buy vehicles that do not meet their needs or they cannot afford. According to the EPA's own estimate, fuel economy mandates will add between $3,100 and $3,600 on average to the price of a vehicle. NADA contends that if consumers are ignored, not only will the economy be hurt, there will be no energy security or environmental benefits. Click here to view the Austria-Carter letter.

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VW Likely to Overtake Toyota as Top Carmaker in 2011, GM to Remain Second

Volkswagen AG will probably become the world’s biggest carmaker this year, vaulting past Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co. on gains in emerging markets. VW sales in China may rise almost 20 percent in 2011 and more than double in India, according to estimates at researcher J.D. Power & Associates. Toyota may regain the lead from VW next year as the recovery of the Japanese company’s facilities from the March earthquake will pave the way for the Toyota City-based automaker to sell 8.4 million cars, or half a million units more than VW, according to research firm IHS Automotive.
Source: Bloomberg

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Why the UAW Made Peace with Detroit

The Detroit-based auto industry could face significant threats over the next four years: tighter regulation, soft demand and tougher competition. High costs from union labor won't be one of them. "Detroit automakers haven't solved everything. Competition with the [foreign] transplants is still very difficult," said Sean McAlinden, a labor economist with the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan. "But the UAW contract is no longer the strategic threat it's been."
Source: Fortune

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Fisker, Electric Carmaker Backed by $529 Million U.S. Loan, Balks at Solyndra Comparison

An electric car company backed by more than a half-billion dollars in Department of Energy loan guarantees has missed early manufacturing goals and has gradually pushed back plans for U.S. production and the creation of thousands of jobs. This week, Fisker delayed until 2013 the production of the moderately priced family car it plans to build in Delaware. It also learned that its Finnish-produced luxury model, the $96,000 Karma, which is two years late in reaching U.S. markets, failed to meet a promised energy-efficiency standard. Fisker was among the big winners in the administration’s effort for broader development of electric vehicles, and company officials said their problems bear no resemblance to those of Solyndra, which filed for bankruptcy protection in September.
Source: The Washington Post

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A Century of Chevy, From Cheap Date to America's Sweetheart

Chevrolet, which celebrates its 100th birthday next month, has woven itself deeply into the fabric of America. Earlier than almost any other automotive brand, Chevy created a palette of vehicles that ranged from the small and thrifty to the sleek and sporty to the large and smartly trimmed. But there’s more to the story than commercial success. Although it occupied the first rung of Alfred P. Sloan’s General Motors hierarchy, a ladder on which customers would move up to more expensive brands as they gained affluence, Chevy developed a following of fans whose devotion lasted a lifetime.
Source: The New York Times

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Quotable
"Every dealer I've ever spoken to on this subject will tell you these Taj Mahal facilities won't sell you any more cars."

   
-- Don Hall, president of the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association, referring to the return-on-investment of factory image programs, Automotive News, Oct. 24
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