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Inside this issue
March Auto Sales Seen Up 6 Percent
Highway Bill Riles Automakers
Honda Promotes American Managers in Push for U.S. Revival
'Anybody's Guess' When U.S. Will Sell Its GM Stock
VW Ready to Test America's Appetite to Plug In
After Rocky Start, Fiat Picks Up Speed in U.S.
Volkswagen Mans Up With Bug Leaving Women Behind in Sales
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
March Auto Sales Seen Up 6 Percent

New-vehicle sales in March are expected to rise 6 percent from last year due to strong demand in the retail market, according to J.D. Power and Associates and LMC Automotive. Total sales in March are projected to finish at 1,372,400 cars and light trucks, compared with 1,244,009 vehicles in the same month last year, research firms J.D. Power and LMC said. That estimate would translate to an annual sales rate in the month of 14.1 million vehicles, compared with 15 million in February and 13 million in March 2011, the research companies said.
Source: Reuters

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Highway Bill Riles Automakers

Industry slams proposed safety rules, recall fine
Major automakers want significant changes in auto safety reforms that are part of a two-year highway reauthorization bill. Mitch Bainwol, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, is expected to tell the House Energy and Commerce Committee today that it should make major changes in the $109 billion bill that the Senate approved on a 74-22 vote. The alliance — which represents Detroit's Big Three automakers, Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen AG and seven others, wants the House to reject a provision in the Senate bill that would allow the government to fine them $250 million for failing to recall vehicles properly. That's up from about $17 million now.
Source: The Detroit News

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Honda Promotes American Managers in Push for U.S. Revival

Honda Motor Co. was the first Asian carmaker to build autos in the U.S. and is the most dependent on the market. Now it’s also putting more non-Japanese in key roles. North American Chief Operating Officer Tetsuo Iwamura becomes executive vice president April 1 and No. 2 to President Takanobu Ito. His new seven-member board will manage activities from product planning to production to sales in North America. Three members will be U.S. natives, the first time Americans held such responsibility, including Erik Berkman to lead regional product development and design.
Source: Bloomberg

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'Anybody's Guess' When U.S. Will Sell Its GM Stock

General Motors Co. says it is "anybody's guess" when the Obama administration will sell the government's remaining 500 million shares of stock in the Detroit automaker, obtained as part of its $49.5 billion bailout. In a blog post Wednesday, GM spokesman Selim Bingol said the Detroit automaker has no idea when the government might exit. "The day will eventually come when the Treasury sells its GM stake. When is anybody's guess (we have no say in the matter)," Bingol wrote.
Source: The Detroit News

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VW Ready to Test America's Appetite to Plug In

Get ready America. Here they come: Volkswagen is bringing its test fleet of all-electric Golfs to the United States. Yes, all 20 of them. VW, which has been cautious so far, is now taking its first stab at full EVs. As part of a pilot program, it plans to hand over the keys of 20 e-Golf prototypes to U.S. drivers, including 12 VW employees, to test the car's capabilities on the great American roadways. Or at least, those roadways within the pilot's test markets: Detroit, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Source: Automotive News

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After Rocky Start, Fiat Picks Up Speed in U.S.

A year after the troubled re-launch of Fiat in the U.S., there are signs the brand is closer to getting on the right track. In February, Fiat had its best month yet in the U.S. with sales of 3,227. As of last week, Fiat 500 sales for March were on pace to do even better, said Timothy Kuniskis, head of the Fiat brand. "I'm holding my breath, but to beat February would be a big, big win for us," Kuniskis said last week. Carl Galeana, who has Fiat dealerships in Sterling Heights and Ft. Myers, Fla., said he is more optimistic about the brand's future than he was six months ago. "We did not have any marketing support at all when we started," Galeana said. "Since we've started to really launch the brand, we finally got some awareness building."
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Volkswagen Mans Up With Bug Leaving Women Behind in Sales

The VW Beetle is cute as a bug. Unique and recognizable, it’s an icon of affordable personal transportation. What it hasn’t been: manly. Once intended as a ride for the common man, it had become a model that put the driver’s masculine reputation at risk. So the new version of the two-door was redesigned last year with a more angular, sporty look to attract more male shoppers. TV ads show a Beetle-driving guy getting a high-five from a beautiful woman and a fist-bump from a tough-looking dude on a motorcycle.
Source: Bloomberg

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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
"Each month of strong sales brings with it increased optimism that the pace of growth represents a true recovery for the sector."

   
-- John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power, Reuters, March 22
  

 

NADA - National Automobile Dealers Association

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