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Inside this issue
Dealers Like Detroit Show, Prospects For Year
Japanese Automakers Go On the Offensive in U.S.
European Autos Driving Into New Era
Chrysler's Bigland: Dealers' 'Methodical' Response to Online Leads is Boosting Sales
'Electric Car is Not Dead,' GM Says
Carmakers Get Creative With Crossovers as SUV Alternative
Auto Makers Look Past Baby Boomers
Sparkling New Corvette Stingray to Hit the Auction Block Saturday
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Dealers Like Detroit Show, Prospects For Year

Dealers touring the Detroit auto show liked what they saw. And they like their prospects for 2013. Detroit's unveilings, from the redesigned Chevy Corvette to Volkswagen's teaser for its coming mid-sized crossover, reinforce the optimism dealers and others in the industry have for a continued sales resurgence. "What I'm impressed by is just the volume of good product," said Craig Monaghan, CEO of Asbury Automotive Group Inc., the nation's seventh-largest retailer. "If this is a glimpse into 2013, it could be another great year for us."
Source: Automotive News

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Japanese Automakers Go On the Offensive in U.S.

With disasters behind them, 2012 sales soar

Japan's automakers, fully restored from the effects of a devastating tsunami and other disasters, are making up for lost time in North America. Led by Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co., Japanese manufacturers boosted their U.S. sales faster than most of their rivals after replenishing their inventories, expanding their share of the U.S. light vehicle market to 37.9 percent from 34.9 percent. They ramped up their North American output by 17 percent to a record 15.2 million vehicles in 2012, according to Kohei Takahashi, a Tokyo-based auto analyst at J.P. Morgan.
Source: The Detroit News

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European Autos Driving Into New Era

Carmageddon is becoming a reality in Europe. European Union auto sales hit their lowest level for 17 years in 2012, while the 8.2% year-on-year sales decline was the sharpest since 1993, according to industry body ACEA. Perversely, that might offer hope the worst has passed for a cyclical industry like autos, especially with the euro zone having avoided collapse. But investors looking for bargains among cheaply trading auto stocks should steer carefully. There are still plenty of roadblocks ahead. Europe may be set for a "carless" recovery, according to Morgan Stanley. Economic factors such as high unemployment and household deleveraging are causing consumers to delay new purchases. Better auto manufacturing, meaning cars rust less quickly, is exacerbating that trend. The average age of Europe's car fleet has already risen to 8.4 years, from 7.6 in 2000, and could rise further: In the U.S., the equivalent figure is around 11 years.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Chrysler's Bigland: Dealers' 'Methodical' Response to Online Leads is Boosting Sales

A sharp focus on responding to Internet leads has allowed Chrysler Group to dramatically decrease both the number of lost leads as well as the time the average customer waits for a response, the automaker's head of U.S. and Canadian sales said. Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress, Reid Bigland, 45, said Chrysler dealers must have an online presence and must be responsive to potential customers who come through the digital doorway.
Source: Automotive News

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'Electric Car is Not Dead,' GM Says

Despite disappointing sales, exec predicts brighter future for Volt after improvements

General Motors Co. North America chief Mark Reuss said he isn't giving up on electric vehicles, despite struggling industry sales in 2012. "The electric car is not dead," Reuss said at the Automotive News World Congress on Wednesday night. He said despite setbacks, the Detroit automaker isn't giving up on electric autos, even though it had to abandon its initial forecast for its plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt. But sales of the Volt grew, and for all of 2012 they tripled to more than 23,000. And this week at the North American International Auto Show, GM unveiled its new plug-in hybrid Cadillac ELR, a Volt luxury variant that Reuss said GM expects to start building by the end of 2013 at its Detroit Hamtramck Assembly plant.
Source: The Detroit News

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Carmakers Get Creative With Crossovers as SUV Alternative

Volkswagen AG's CrossBlue concept, which previews a new mid-sized seven-passenger crossover vehicle the German automaker plans to build in Tennessee in early 2015, is not the sexiest model on the floor of the Detroit auto show. But it may be one of the most significant. The production version of the CrossBlue appears to be aimed at the sweet spot in a burgeoning U.S. market segment that continues to draw new entries in a variety of shapes and sizes, from compact to fullsize. The show demonstrates an increasing diversity in crossovers, or car-based vehicles that provide the space, styling and functionality of a truck-based sport-utility vehicle without the penalty at the gas pump.
Source: Reuters

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Auto Makers Look Past Baby Boomers

A rethinking of design and pricing to win over 20- to 40-year-old customers

The power that U.S. baby boomers have exercised for nearly 50 years over the auto industry is starting to wane—finally. Auto industry executives gathered for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week made it clear with their designs for coming models that they are pivoting their attention—and their product strategies—toward the 20, 30 and 40-something consumers collectively known as Generations X and Y. "The baby boom is 60 years old," says Rupert Stadler, chief executive of Volkswagen AG's Audi luxury car brand. "We have to look for young customers."
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Sparkling New Corvette Stingray to Hit the Auction Block Saturday

It's the first Corvette Stingray – sort of. General Motors will auction off the first retail production model of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray on Saturday. The car revives the moniker first associated with the sports car in the 1960s. The vehicle is part of the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale collector car auction in Scottsdale, Ariz. Bids can be placed online or in person, and proceeds from the sale will be donated to Detroit's College for Creative Studies.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Quotable
"If you don't have an online presence, you're going to be at a significant disadvantage."

   
-- Reid Bigland, Chrysler's U.S. sales chief, speaking at the Automotive News World Congress on how dealers must have an online presence, Automotive News, Jan. 16

 

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