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Inside this issue
Responding to Tough Terms, Chrysler Withdraws Bid for U.S. Loans
DOT Issues Guidelines to Limit Dashboard Distractions
Ally Financial CEO Says Progress on Mortgages Must Precede IPO
Hyundai Weighs New Luxury Subbrand for Its Showrooms
How a Malden Entrepreneur (May Have) Launched Presidents' Day Car Sales
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Top Stories
Responding to Tough Terms, Chrysler Withdraws Bid for U.S. Loans

Chrysler said on Thursday that it had dropped its longstanding request for $3.5 billion in federal energy loans after the Obama administration proposed tight restrictions on further aid to the company. The withdrawal of Chrysler’s application was not unexpected. The company’s chief executive, Sergio Marchionne, said last month that he was losing hope that the money would become available anytime soon. But the decision may reflect a greater degree of political scrutiny of any additional financial assistance to the auto industry during an election year. Last winter, General Motors withdrew its own application for $14.4 billion in low-interest loans from the Energy Department after deciding it did not need the money.
Source: The New York Times

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DOT Issues Guidelines to Limit Dashboard Distractions

Safety regulators are urging automakers to design dashboard technology with a view to limiting the amount of time that drivers take their eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel. Under guidelines issued Thursday, the Department of Transportation also proposed that automakers disable time-consuming functions, such as text-messaging or Web browsing, unless the car is parked. "These guidelines are a major step forward in identifying real solutions to tackle the issue of distracted driving," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.
Source: The Detroit News

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Ally Financial CEO Says Progress on Mortgages Must Precede IPO

Detroit-based auto and mortgage lender Ally Financial Inc. would be able to mount a public offering now, but the stock market wouldn't properly value the company, the chief executive said in an interview. Ally, a bank-holding company, is the nation's largest new-car lender. It is 74 percent government-owned as part of a $17.2 billion bailout and put an IPO on hold last year amid declining market conditions. Ally Chairman and CEO Michael Carpenter told The Detroit News that the company needs to resolve mortgage issues first. "I think we actually could take the company public now — I don't think we'd like the valuation," Carpenter said in an interview earlier this month in Las Vegas after addressing the National Automobile Dealers Association convention.
Source: The Detroit News

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Hyundai Weighs New Luxury Subbrand for Its Showrooms

Hyundai is looking at selling its rear-wheel-drive premium vehicles such as the Equus, Genesis sedan and Genesis Coupe under a new subbrand called Genesis. Already rejected, though, are expensive new showrooms and rooftops for the brand, says Dave Zuchowski, executive vice president of sales for Hyundai Motor America. Instead, vehicles in the Genesis subbrand, if approved, would occupy a separate zone in Hyundai showrooms.
Source: Automotive News

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How a Malden Entrepreneur (May Have) Launched Presidents' Day Car Sales

The annual hoopla for Presidents’ Day car sales will soon be in full swing. But when did the holiday become synonymous with auto-selling extravaganzas? The idea, according to many, was the brainchild of Alvan T. Fuller, who was born in Charlestown and grew up in Malden. Fuller is perhaps best remembered for his tenure as Massachusetts’ 52nd governor, when he refused to pardon anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti before they were put to death for murder in 1927. But long before his career in politics, Fuller was just an enterprising teenager selling bicycles out of a backyard barn on Cross Street in Malden. As early as 1897, he was hyping Washington’s Birthday as a great time to buy bikes, hanging a sign outside his shop that read, “COME ON IN ... IT’S OPEN HOUSE,’’ according to a Boston Globe story printed in 1964. When he transitioned to selling cars a few years later, Fuller again used Washington’s Birthday (the holiday wasn’t called Presidents’ Day until 1971) as a sales hook. "We think that any holiday weekend is a great weekend to go out and buy a new car. It’s the luxury of time for the consumer that’s important," said [Paul Taylor, chief economist and spokesman for the near-century-old National Automobile Dealers Association.]
Source: The Boston Globe

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The NADA Story

The NADA story began in 1917 when 30 auto dealers traveled to the nation’s capital to convince Congress not to impose a luxury tax on the automobile. They successfully argued that the automobile is a necessity of American life, not a luxury. From that experience was born the National Automobile Dealers Association. Today, NADA represents nearly 16,000 new-car and -truck dealerships with 32,500 franchises, both domestic and international. For more information, visit

"We think that any holiday weekend is a great weekend to go out and buy a new car. It's the luxury of time for the consumer that’s important."

-- NADA Chief Economist Paul Taylor, referring to the auto-selling extravaganzas on Presidents' Day, The Boston Globe, Feb. 16

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