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Inside this issue
Europe: It's 'a Disaster'
Auto-Loan Rates Plunging to Record Lows Drives U.S. Sales: Cars
Commentary: Revamped Car Dealer Waits for Rebound
CAW Ratifies Contract with Chrysler, Last of Detroit 3
Hybrid Strategy: Divide and Conquer
Marchionne Says Chrysler Close to U.S. Lender Agreement
Ford Dealers Start Service Expansion
Saab Owner Spyker to Oppose GM's Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit
Automakers Grapple with Rising Tide of Industrial Espionage
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Europe: It's 'a Disaster'

Auto execs in Paris see more trouble ahead

As bad as European auto sales have been this year, they're about to get worse. That was the verdict from industry executives gathered at the Paris auto show last week. It marks a sharp turn from other European auto shows since the onset of the continent's stubborn debt crisis. In the past, industry executives said they were feeling little effect from the troubles of insolvent southern European countries. But at Paris, several executives said the atmosphere reminded them of the 2009 Detroit auto show – an industry rolling out new models but knowing that it faced a miserable year.
Source: Automotive News

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Auto-Loan Rates Plunging to Record Lows Drives U.S. Sales: Cars

When it comes to car loans, money is cheap -- historically cheap. The average monthly loan payment on a car fell to $462 this year from $483 in 2007, as the average price of a car has risen to $32,384, from $30,880 five years ago, according to J.D. Power. The average lease payment has also fallen to $419 this year, from $479 in 2007. Payments are down because of declining interest rates and longer loan terms, J.D. Power said.
Source: Bloomberg

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Commentary: Revamped Car Dealer Waits for Rebound
By Carol Cain

Russ Shelton of Shelton Buick GMC in Rochester Hills winces a bit as he talks of the third face-lift his dealership has finished since 1994. It's part of General Motors' effort to make its customer experience more comfortable and unified. Shelton, who has worked at the dealership since his teens, purchased it from his father, Bud Shelton in 1994. He loves the business and still puts in 55-hour workweeks. But upheaval has been the name of the game, especially since the 2008 global meltdown. Much has been written about the impact on manufacturers, but the toll was felt just as deeply at the dealer level. The dealerships that remain seem to be in continual improvement mode. That is why National Auto Dealers Association Chairman Bill Underriner will come to Detroit on Oct. 23 to speak to the Automotive Press Association. Underriner is to discuss the latest developments concerning manufacturer facility-upgrade programs and other issues.
Source: Detroit Free Press

Editor's note: Carol Cain is senior producer and host of "Michigan Matters," which airs 11:30 a.m. Sunday on CBS 62 in Detroit.

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CAW Ratifies Contract with Chrysler, Last of Detroit 3

The Canadian Auto Workers ratified its new contract with Chrysler Group LLC on Sunday, the last of Detroit's three automakers to finalize a new four-year agreement with the union. Ninety percent of Chrysler workers in Canada ratified the new contract, which does not come with any new investments or job gains. Previously, workers at Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. ratified agreements with the CAW that included investments and job gains.
Source: The Detroit News

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Hybrid Strategy: Divide and Conquer

Both Honda and Toyota are far more committed to the hybrid car than to the battery electric vehicle, a fact that Toyota made clear this month when it scaled back its Scion iQ electric car project. And Honda is so enthusiastic about hybrids that, as its chief executive, Takanobu Ito, outlined in a recent speech, it will have three separate systems with up to three electric motors.
Source: The New York Times

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Marchionne Says Chrysler Close to U.S. Lender Agreement

Chrysler Group LLC, the automaker controlled by Fiat SpA, is close to an agreement to replace Ally Financial Inc. as its primary lender to dealers and customers, Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said in an interview. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Santander Holdings USA are “possible” partners for Chrysler, Marchionne said. The Auburn Hills, Michigan-based automaker may reach pacts with more than one lender, he said in February.
Source: Bloomberg

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Ford Dealers Start Service Expansion

On a typical day, all 30 service bays at Sam Pack's Five Star Ford in Carrollton, Texas, are busy from 7:30 a.m. to closing at 8 p.m. "We generally write anywhere between 90 and 110 repair orders a day," says Mike Dielenhein, service and body shop director. The store's service department generates nearly $1 million in revenue during a typical month. That number will only get larger. In the next 60 days, construction will begin on a new $14 million dealership, which will double service capacity from 30 bays to 60. The dealership's expansion plans in suburban Dallas illustrate an emerging trend at Ford. After a long period of declining dealer population and consolidation, some Ford dealerships are adding service capacity again.
Source: Automotive News

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Saab Owner Spyker to Oppose GM's Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit

Dutch sportscar maker Spyker NV, which is suing General Motors Co. for more than $3 billion on behalf of its subsidiary Saab, said on Monday it will oppose the U.S. automaker's motion to dismiss the case. GM on Friday dismissed claims that it deliberately bankrupted the Swedish company by blocking a deal with a Chinese investor.
Source: Reuters

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Automakers Grapple with Rising Tide of Industrial Espionage

The rate of industrial espionage activities in the auto industry and the United States as a whole is on the rise, according to government data -- with Toyota, Ford and General Motors all on the receiving end of the trend in recent years. American companies create some of the most sought-after products in the world, making them ideal targets for intellectual property crimes, said U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole during the keynote address at the Protecting Michigan's Technology conference last week in suburban Detroit.
Source: Automotive News

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Quotable
"The European car market is a disaster. It has plunged off a precipice that doesn't seem to have bottomed out yet. The prospects are anything but rosy."

    -- Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, Automotive News, Oct. 1

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