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Inside this issue
Obama Seeks Energy Trust to Shift Cars, Trucks 'Off Oil for Good'
Opinion: The Electric Car Mistake
Experts Urge Making MPG Math Less Fuzzy
Ally Sees Full U.S. Repayment by 2014 on Auto Business Gains
Will Big Car Sale Follow the Big Blizzard?
North American Auto Makers Build to 97% Capacity in 2012
Auto Industry Raises Safety Concerns About Broadened Wi-Fi Usage
New Car Dealership Association Pledges $1 Million to Pediatric Healthcare
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Obama Seeks Energy Trust to Shift Cars, Trucks 'Off Oil for Good'

President Obama on Tuesday called for the creation of an "Energy Security Trust" that would fund the development of new vehicles "to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good." The proposal, outlined in his State of the Union address and coming at the start of Obama's second term, suggests the White House will redouble its support for electric vehicles and biofuels, which received significant government funding and tax credits during the president's first term.
Source: Automotive News

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Opinion: The Electric Car Mistake
By Charles Lane

The Obama administration's electric-car fantasy finally may have died on the road between Newark, Del., and Milford, Conn. The New York Times's John M. Broder reported Friday that the Tesla Model S electric car he was test-driving repeatedly ran out of juice, partly because cold weather reduces the battery's range by about 10 percent. Broder's trip turned into a nightmare, including a stretch with the conked-out car riding the back of a flatbed truck. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk fired back on Monday, tweeting that Broder's report is a “fake” and that “vehicle logs” show he “didn't actually charge to max & took a long detour." The Times is standing by its story. My take is that even if Musk is 100 percent right and Broder is 100 percent wrong — which I doubt — Musk loses. Who wants a $101,000 car that might die just because you feel like taking “a long detour”?
Source: The Washington Post

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Experts Urge Making MPG Math Less Fuzzy

Drivers of some cars are learning that gas-mileage estimates on window stickers overpromise what they really get on the highway. That's reigniting a debate on how to calculate fuel economy. The auto industry is under a more watchful eye, after Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors of America had to scale back mileage claims on several models. And the Environmental Protection Agency is considering changing testing requirements for hybrids after Consumer Reports found real-world fuel efficiency of Ford Motor Co.'s C-Max and Fusion hybrids fell short of EPA estimates. Some suggest it's time to rethink mileage testing for all vehicles, as automakers prepare to meet the 54.5 miles-per-gallon Corporate Average Fuel Economy fleet standard by 2025.
Source: The Detroit News

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Ally Sees Full U.S. Repayment by 2014 on Auto Business Gains

Ally Financial Inc., the second-largest remaining investment by the U.S. Treasury's bailout fund, will repay the government by 2014 on the strength of its auto-finance business, its CEO said. Ally can make a significant payment this year toward the $14.6 billion still outstanding from the Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program, CEO Michael Carpenter said in an interview. Ally in 2012 financed the most new- and used-vehicle sales in the U.S. for the second consecutive year. "We are 100 percent confident that we can repay the American taxpayer completely,” Carpenter, 65, said at the National Automobile Dealers Association's convention [in Orlando, Fla.]. “Whether that’s this year or next year, I don't know. But it's in that time frame."
Source: Bloomberg

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Will Big Car Sale Follow the Big Blizzard?

Could the big blizzard give way to a ray of sunshine for car buyers? Weather statisticians are now finding Nemo, the silly name for a massive snow dump, didn't wind up ranking among the worst winter storms in history. That's cold comfort for residents of, say, Portland, Maine, still thawing out from the weekend blizzard that dumped as much as 32 inches of the white stuff in the Northeast. Prospective car buyers in the region, however, may have something to look forward to after the storm. Almost exactly three years ago, just after blizzard conditions struck the East Coast, an auto-industry economist told residents of those snow-covered areas that the days following the flakes were among the best for car buyers. "You're not going to find more motivated dealers," said Paul Taylor, chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association, told Drive On in 2010. Dealers have "carefully brushed the snow off and they need to sell some vehicles."
Source: USA Today

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North American Auto Makers Build to 97% Capacity in 2012

Rising demand and inventory catch-up, resulting in more overtime and a proliferation of plants working 3-shift or 3-crew schedules, led North American light-vehicle manufacturers to build to 97.1% of their 2-shift straight-time capacity in 2012, based on a WardsAuto analysis. It was the highest rate since WardsAuto began tracking the data in 2005, well above 2011's 83.4%, and the most recent trough year of 2009, when manufacturers built to just 51.9% of their capacity.
Source: WardsAuto

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Auto Industry Raises Safety Concerns About Broadened Wi-Fi Usage

Automakers and suppliers say a U.S. push to broaden Wi-Fi use could jam accident-prevention technology that may cost as little as $100 per vehicle and save thousands of lives annually. The Federal Communications Commission next week may propose rules to let new users into airwaves near those allocated since 1999 to developing car-to-car wireless communications. That technology, now being road-tested in Michigan, may be the precusor to self-driving vehicles.
Source: Bloomberg

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New Car Dealership Association Pledges $1 Million to Pediatric Healthcare

The Greater Sacramento New Car Dealers Association is putting up a significant amount of money to help Shriners Hospitals for Children. The association announced they will give $1 million over 10 years for pediatric research. The president of the New Car Dealers Association, John Driebe, said, “We just feel that with the wonderful work Shriners does in the community that they were an amazing choice for us to get behind.” The funds for the endowment come from auto show proceeds, which is used for many charitable organizations in addition to Shriners.
Source: KTXL FOX 40 (Sacramento, Calif.)

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Quotable
"We are 100 percent confident that we can repay the American taxpayer completely."

   
-- Ally CEO Michael Carpenter, commenting on the finance company's plan to repay the U.S. government by 2014, Bloomberg, Feb. 11
 

  

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