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Inside this issue
U.S. Light-Vehicle SAAR Forecast to Rise in February
General Motors Leads Revival of Motor City, But Not Everyone Is Happy
Ford's Mr. Inside, in Sight of the Crown
Electric Cars Still a Hard Sell for Most Consumers
Editorial: First Things First
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Top Stories
U.S. Light-Vehicle SAAR Forecast to Rise in February

U.S. light-vehicle deliveries will near 1.1 million units in February, a 6.2% increase in daily sales over year-ago that would lift the seasonally adjusted annual rate to a 45-month high, WardsAuto forecasts. The WardsAuto report calls for U.S. auto makers to deliver 1,095,000 cars and light trucks over 25 selling days this month, compared with 24 in January and 24 year-ago, for a 37,000-unit daily sales rate. The DSR equates to a 14.3 million-unit SAAR, the highest since May 2008, just prior to the summer gas price crisis that decimated sales and before the financial crisis hit, sending the U.S. into recession.
Source: WardsAuto

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General Motors Leads Revival of Motor City, But Not Everyone Is Happy

Two years after emerging from bankruptcy [General Motors] unveiled record profits of $7.6 billion for 2011. It's been a great year for GM. It's not alone. Ford and Chrysler too have bounced back, making profits and adding jobs. With the car firms back on the road it's easy to forget that the massive auto industry bailout was extremely controversial. President George Bush, much to the anger of the right wing of his party, had first approved loans to the automakers in 2008 as their sales slumped and debts piled high. Barack Obama's decision to bail them out proved to be the first big test of his presidency. Now he is claiming it as one of his biggest victories. But not everyone is happy. Mitt Romney, bruised frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, slammed the bailout [last] week in the Detroit News, hometown newspaper for the US auto industry. Even President Bush seems to be happy with the bailouts. Earlier this month at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Las Vegas, Bush defended his role in the loan programme. "I didn't want there to be 21% unemployment. I didn't want to gamble. I didn't want history to look back and say, 'Bush could have done something but chose not to do it.' And so I said, 'no depression,'" he said. "I'd make the same decision again if I had to."
Source: The Guardian

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Ford's Mr. Inside, in Sight of the Crown

MARK FIELDS should be feeling pretty good right about now. The Ford Motor Company, his employer for the last 23 years, is in the midst of a remarkable turnaround. Since the American auto industry’s big wreck in 2008, Ford has reported 10 consecutive profitable quarters. And Ford, the only one of Detroit’s Big Three that wasn’t bailed out by taxpayers, has steadily gained market share with each new product it has introduced. To top it off, the biggest contributor to this comeback, by far, is Mr. Fields’s business unit, which encompasses all of Ford’s manufacturing and sales in North and South America.
Source: The New York Times

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Electric Cars Still a Hard Sell for Most Consumers

Electric vehicles are still a hard sell for the average consumer. The price tag is high, and the lower fuel costs don't immediately make up the difference. Charging stations are available but not on every corner, and most take hours, instead of minutes. Even the best-laid plans can leave some motorists doing just about anything to hold their battery's charge, particularly in cold weather. Just ask Paul Beeker, 40, who lives in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood. In the cold(ish) Chicago weather, he was getting about 60 miles range on a charge. To get home on some trips with their two small children, he and his wife were forced to drive with the heat off and at lower speeds to conserve battery power.
Source: The Chicago Tribune

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Editorial: First Things First

The recently released National Automobile Dealers Association's study on facility programs cast a bright light on a major conflict between dealers and manufacturers.
Source: Automotive News

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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 www.nada.org.

 
Quotable
"It's like we've gotten to base camp on Mount Everest, and now we have to climb the mountain."

   
-- Amit Singhi, division controller for Ford of the Americas, referring to the automaker's plan to improve its core business and profitability in the United States, The New York Times, Feb. 19
 



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