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Inside this issue
Electric Car Market is Badly in Need of a Charge
Chinese Auto Parts Firm Still Wants Part of A123 Systems
Ford Ups the Ante in Fuel Economy Wars
U.S. Fuel Economy in '12 Jumps 4.5%
Dispute Rattles Japan's Automakers
BMW Shifts 'Thousands' of Cars to U.S. Market From Europe
Nissan To Roll Out 'Drive-By-Wire' Steering Within a Year
NADA UCG: Wholesale Prices to Soften This Week Except for Large Pickup Trucks
Digital Dealerships: The Next Big Thing or a Gimmick Bound to Fail?
Jaguar Plano Named 'Best Dealership To Work For'
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Electric Car Market is Badly in Need of a Charge

Battery companies struggle as consumer demand for clean vehicles continues to wane

The electric vehicle industry is in serious trouble, or at least far behind where its proponents had hoped it would be. After years of promises that electric cars would end the nation's reliance on imported oil, the bad news has been steady in recent weeks, with reports of lagging sales and projects being pushed back. Despite high gas prices, established automakers and start-ups are struggling to convince Americans to buy the cars. In Washington, the political consensus in favor of electric vehicles has evaporated.
Source: The Detroit News

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Chinese Auto Parts Firm Still Wants Part of A123 Systems

Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang Group, whose agreement to buy 80% of A123 Systems was voided when Johnson Controls acquired the auto-related assets of the bankrupt battery supplier, said Wednesday it still wants to buy part of the company. In August, Wanxiang said it would invest $465 million for up to 80% of A123 Systems, but that deal unraveled as A123 slipped into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Ford Ups the Ante in Fuel Economy Wars

Ford Motor Co. said earlier Wednesday that the 2013 C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid has been certified to go 620 miles on a tank of gasoline and single charge as rated by the EPA. That's enough to top the range of the 2012 Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid by 80 miles, and the 2013 Chevrolet Volt, with a range of 380 miles. But Ford, raising the ante in the fuel economy wars, says the C-Max Energi plug-in will deliver as many as 21 miles of range in all-electric, and an EPA-certified equivalent of 100 mpg in combined city and highway driving.
Source: Automotive News

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U.S. Fuel Economy in '12 Jumps 4.5%

The average fuel economy of light vehicles sold in the U.S. rose 4.5% over year-ago during the '12 model year, the WardsAuto Fuel Economy Index reveals, while finishing 14% above the base index score set in fourth-quarter 2007. The year-over-year increase came as a result of improved Environmental Protection Agency ratings for many '12 models and a shift in the market toward smaller, more fuel-efficient segments.
Source: WardsAuto

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Dispute Rattles Japan's Automakers

Territorial flap with China hurts stock prices, profits, sales

Japanese auto stocks are losing ground as investors grow increasingly concerned that a territorial dispute between China and Japan will weigh on Japanese auto sales in the world's largest market for months to come. Sales of all Japanese-brand cars tumbled 41 percent in China last month after the governments of China and Japan clashed over the uninhabited Diaoyu Islands — called the Senkaku in Japan. Bank of America-Merrill Lynch noted that Japanese car sales fell 64 percent in the second half of September, after violent protests broke out at Japanese business and dealerships selling Japanese brands. Japanese automakers temporarily halted output at their joint production ventures with Chinese carmakers, hurting Chinese manufacturers Dongfeng and Guangzhou Auto.
Source: The Detroit News

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BMW Shifts 'Thousands' of Cars to U.S. Market From Europe

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) has shifted “tens of thousands” of cars that were originally targeted for Europe to the U.S. and Asia this year as sales weaken in the crisis-hit region. “Challenges in Europe are getting greater,” Ian Robertson, sales chief for the world’s largest luxury-car brand, said to reporters today at a company event in Munich. The region faces “a lot of bumps on the road” before it stabilizes and an auto-market recovery could take years, he said. Europe's car industry is poised to suffer its biggest annual sales drop in 19 years in 2012.
Source: Bloomberg

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Nissan To Roll Out 'Drive-By-Wire' Steering Within a Year

Nissan Motor Co. unveiled a steering system which, as the car maker puts it, “allows independent control of a vehicle's tire angle and steering inputs.” The new setup, which some might call drive-by-wire steering, uses electronics to interpret the driver's steering movements and controls the wheels based on electronic signals. The company said it will equip certain Infiniti vehicles with the computer-controlled steering within a year.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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NADA UCG: Wholesale Prices to Soften This Week Except for Large Pickup Trucks

As gas prices have begun a slow downward trickle, all wholesale segment prices are expected to soften this week, except for the large pickup segment, according to NADA Used Car Guide. This segment is expected to see a slight rise of 0.3 percent, or $50.
Source: Auto Remarketing

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Digital Dealerships: The Next Big Thing or a Gimmick Bound to Fail?

Audi believes it doesn't need a showroom full of cars to make a sale, especially to young, Web-savvy buyers in crowded big cities. The Audi City digital dealership in central London, opened in July, is the first of more than 20 that the luxury brand plans to open globally by 2015. The question is whether this retail approach is the wave of the future -- especially in city centers where real estate costs are massive -- or just a gimmick that will flop long before Audi's 20th "clicks and mortar" cyberstore opens.
Source: Automotive News

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Jaguar Plano Named 'Best Dealership To Work For'

Texas store is tops among 100 honorees in inaugural Automotive News event

Jaguar Plano, a Texas auto dealership that backs up its "help the client" mantra by giving employees $50 gasoline cards for doing the right thing, has won the top ranking in the first Automotive News' list of the "100 Best Dealerships To Work For." The honor was announced Wednesday night at an event at the Ritz Carlton in Chicago. The 100 dealerships were selected by the Best Companies Group, which screened extensive surveys filled out by U.S. and Canadian stores that applied for the distinction.
Source: Automotive News

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Quotable
 "The uptake isn't as strong as we first hoped."

   
-- Andy Palmer, Nissan's executive vice president of product planning, commenting on the slower than anticipated growth of electric vehicles, The Detroit News, Oct. 18


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NADA Chairman Bill Underriner will discuss the state of the retail-auto industry at the Automotive Press Association luncheon in Detroit on Tuesday, Oct. 23. Underriner will discuss opposition to stair-step incentive programs and the latest developments concerning factory-mandated dealership upgrade programs. A recent NADA facilities study found no evidence that facility improvements result in any sales gains, either short term or long term. It's a point of contention between some dealers and some manufacturers.


 


 

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