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Inside this issue
Sales Rise to Most Since 2007 on Best U.S. Run in 40 Years: Cars
Shareholders Shower Ford Executives with Praise at Short, Sweet Annual Meeting
Chrysler Puts Laser Focus on Defects
Toyota Is Back, Serving Notice of Renewed Global Ambitions
Sexless $72,000 Corvette GS Needs Hot Ferrari Makeover
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Sales Rise to Most Since 2007 on Best U.S. Run in 40 Years: Cars

U.S. auto sales are on pace for the best showing since 2007 and a third straight year of at least 10 percent gains, only the fourth such streak since the Great Depression, as more-confident buyers return to showrooms. Automakers are adding overnight shifts and cutting workers’ vacations to meet demand. Sales this year may reach 14.3 million cars and light trucks, equal to the first-quarter pace, according to estimates from 14 analysts compiled by Bloomberg. It would be the best full year since 16.1 million in 2007.
Source: Bloomberg

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Shareholders Shower Ford Executives with Praise at Short, Sweet Annual Meeting

There was more praise than controversy from the 63 shareholders who attended Ford’s 57th annual meeting today in Wilmington, Del. The meeting, which was over in a record 45 minutes, saw the election of the 16 current directors. None of the proposals altering the dual-stock status or voting rights passed. Instead there was applause for a team that has delivered three consecutive years of increased profitability culminating in 2011 earnings of $8.8 million – the best since 1998 – as well as the restoration of dividends suspended since 2006.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Chrysler Puts Laser Focus on Defects

Through bailouts and bankruptcy, there is one liability that Chrysler Group LLC hasn't yet managed to shed: its reputation for lousy quality. Despite surging sales and profits, the Auburn Hills, Mich., auto maker remains dogged by a long trail of recalls, customer complaints and poor ratings on quality surveys. "We are dragging behind us a pretty poor history," said Chrysler quality chief Doug Betts, during a visit to the Belvidere, Ill., assembly plant where he oversaw the launch of the new Dodge Dart compact. "We were building cars that were functional, and other than that, they were boxes you got into that hopefully kept the rain off your head." But today, dealers, customers and independent reviewers say [Betts'] efforts are starting to pay off, with better finishes and higher quality scores on new models such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV and Chrysler 300 sedan. Last year, Chrysler's brands earned their highest ratings in years in Consumer Reports' annual reliability survey, rising from the bottom of the pack to the middle. "It is almost a quantum-leap difference," said Michael Fohrman, owner of Gurnee Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram in Gurnee, Ill.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Toyota Is Back, Serving Notice of Renewed Global Ambitions

Toyota has sent a message to Volkswagen, General Motors, Hyundai and any other company that plans to challenge for the title of “world’s biggest automaker” over the next several years: The sales-volume champion of last decade is back and gunning to regain the crown that it lost to GM last year. Significant issues still lurk for Toyota, including the fact that it continues to rely on Japanese production more highly than its domestic rivals....
Source: Forbes

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Sexless $72,000 Corvette GS Needs Hot Ferrari Makeover

I pull my buddy’s Ferrari 458 Italia off the racetrack and into the pit lane, brake dust showering the tire rims like fairy powder. We’ve been hurtling down the straightaway at Monticello Motor Club at 150 miles per hour and the tires are hot to the touch. The Ferrari is blood red and brand new. It set my friend back almost $300,000. I step out of its butter-cream leather interior and slip behind the wheel of the car that I drove in -- a Chevy. A $72,000 Corvette Grand Sport ... isn’t a third as sexy, the leather is iffy, and its technology is miles away from the Formula 1 racing tricks of the Ferrari. Yet on the race track, it’s a through-and-through purebred. The Corvette exists to dominate. It’s a Ferrari for the 99 percent.
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
"It is almost a quantum-leap difference."

   
-- Michael Fohrman, owner of Gurnee Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram in Gurnee, Ill., referring to the automaker's improvements in vehicle quality, The Wall Street Journal, May 10

 

 

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