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Inside this issue
Despite the Risks, Ford Cranks Up MPG Claims
For VW, the Path to Global Dominance Leads Through China
Lenders Rev Their Engines
Mazda's Move: Upscale
Industry Tracks Sandy-Damaged Cars
Los Angeles Car Show Is Charged Up
Gap Between Luxury, Mainstream Cars Shrinks
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Despite the Risks, Ford Cranks Up MPG Claims

New effort takes aim at Toyota's Prius lineup

With three new hybrid vehicles on the market and two more on the way, Ford Motor Co. is getting bolder about claiming fuel economy superiority over rival Toyota Motor Corp. -- despite the risks that entails. "Ford has eight products that deliver 40 mpg or more. We can beat Toyota in every segment where they compete," C.J. O'Donnell, Ford marketing manager for electrified vehicles, said here at the launch of the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid. "We're not going to be shy about pointing out those advantages to customers."
Source: Automotive News

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For VW, the Path to Global Dominance Leads Through China

As Volkswagen AG plots a course toward its goal of becoming the world’s biggest automaker by 2018, it’s increasingly clear that the path to global dominance runs through places like Lanzhou, in western China. “Volkswagen’s early entry into China meant that our outlets focused on bigger, developed cities,” said Soh Weiming, the carmaker’s China Executive Vice President. “Now, we have to expand beyond them.”
Source: Bloomberg

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Lenders Rev Their Engines

Surge in demand for auto loans spurs push into sector; subprime is a big draw

The booming market for auto lending is causing deal makers to kick into high gear. General Motors Co. on Wednesday said that it would buy the international operations owned by Ally Financial Inc. as part of a push to build up an auto-loan business after abandoning it six years ago. Spanish lender Banco Santander is planning to take its U.S. consumer-finance unit public in a deal that could value it at $6 billion, people familiar with the effort said. The two deals are among the biggest of a flurry of transactions over the past few months as investors, companies and banks try to take advantage of a surge in demand for auto loans from consumers.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Mazda's Move: Upscale

Having languished for decades in a crowded field of mass-market nameplates, Mazda will reposition itself as a more premium brand, Mazda Motor Corp. CEO Takashi Yamanouchi said. Internally, Mazda is calling its brand shift "Japan premium." That term will not be used in marketing. But the strategy is to leverage Mazda's new technologies and styling to lift the company above its Japanese rivals and other mass-market brands. Some Mazda insiders see the move as the only way Mazda -- a tiny, financially strapped brand with global sales of just 1.3 million units -- can survive.
Source: Automotive News

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Industry Tracks Sandy-Damaged Cars

Keeping cars and trucks that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy out of the nation's pool of used vehicles won't be easy. But automakers, auction houses, inspection companies and vehicle-history reporting agencies are among those working to make sure that Sandy-flooded vehicles are either destroyed or sold with titles describing their true condition.
Source: Automotive News

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Los Angeles Car Show Is Charged Up

The Los Angeles International Auto Show, which opens to the media on Wednesday, is set to host the unveilings of a series of new models, ranging from a new minivan-like wagon from Ford Motor Co. to a Mercedes-Benz super sports car with a top speed of just under 200 miles an hour. Despite the hype around electric vehicles, battery-powered cars so far have struggled to take off. Sales of the Nissan Leaf, which has been available in the U.S. for more than a year, total only 1,000 or so each month—far fewer than Nissan Motor Co. had expected.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Editor's note: The 2012 Western Automotive Conference, an all-new event hosted by NADA and J.D. Power and Associates, will be held on Nov. 27, the eve of Media Days at the LA Auto Show. The half-day conference will be packed with valuable information focusing on the critical issues and solutions impacting current and future automotive operations. To register, click here.

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Gap Between Luxury, Mainstream Cars Shrinks

The day could be fast-arriving when a new breed of car buyer considers a new generation of cars, and wrestles with a choice something like: "Hmmm, $30,000. Should I get that loaded Ford Focus, or this new mini-size entry BMW?" Absurd? Not necessarily.
Source: USA Today

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Quotable
"I wanted to be part of this underdog turnaround."

    --  Klaus Busse, Chrysler interior design chief, said of his decision to stay with Chrysler in Detroit, Automotive News, Nov. 26

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