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Inside this issue
Marchionne: Fiat in Talks With Banks About Chrysler Merger
Toyota Names Former GM Exec Hogan to Board in Overhaul
In Geneva, a Car Party Amid Industry's Gloom
European Luxury Car Makers Party Like It's 1999
Ford Motor CEO Mulally Gets Nearly $12 Million in Performance Bonuses
Web-Connected Cars Bring Privacy Concerns
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Top Stories
Marchionne: Fiat in Talks With Banks About Chrysler Merger

The chief executive officer of Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group LLC, who wants to merge the two automakers, said the Italian company is meeting with banks about financing such a deal. "It's the right thing to bring these two organizations together," Sergio Marchionne said of Fiat and Chrysler at a group interview at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday. "We do have availability of funding to try and close this transaction." Marchionne is relying on Auburn Hills-based Chrysler to sustain earnings as he works to end losses at Turin, Italy-based Fiat's mass-market brands in Europe by as soon as 2015. The Italian carmaker would have posted a 1.04 billion-euro ($1.35 billion) loss in 2012 without Chrysler. The executive didn't comment in detail about the discussions with banks. "I have renewed a number of friendships in the banking sector," Marchionne said Tuesday. "I've received a number of warm and fuzzy notes from CEOs and chairmen who want to help." Fiat was discussing financing options with banks to straighten its balance sheet in preparation to buy the 41.5 percent of Chrysler it doesn't own, three people familiar with the matter said last month. The company has started the valuation process for the holding, Marchionne said.
Source: Bloomberg

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Toyota Names Former GM Exec Hogan to Board in Overhaul

Lentz is CEO of N.A. as regions get more clout

Toyota Motor Corp. appointed former General Motors executive Mark Hogan to its board, installing the first foreigner since 2007 and the first outside director ever in an attempt to breathe fresh perspective into the mammoth Japanese carmaker. The move is part of a sweeping management overhaul that promotes Takeshi Uchiyamada to chairman, switches out more than a third of the current board and realigns global business units. Among the changes is the introduction of new regional chiefs, including the first CEO for North America, Jim Lentz.
Source: Automotive News

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In Geneva, a Car Party Amid Industry's Gloom

On the show floor, there were ultra-lux sports coupes, gull-winged Ferraris, a smattering of convertibles and boasts of much more to come. But the talk in the Geneva International Motor Show's backrooms was another story. "The economic environment is still grim," General Motors Co. Vice Chairman Stephen Girsky said during a news conference on the eve of the show's formal opening. "We thought there would be a little bit of an improvement at the start of the year but we haven't seen that. I do think we will hit bottom this year but not in the first quarter." Mr. Girsky is one of many auto executives who still see hard times ahead for the European market. New-car sales in the 27-member European Union are in the ditch, auto workers are fighting for their jobs and expectations of any relief this year have been wiped away like fingerprints on the glossy paint of the show's stars.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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European Luxury Car Makers Party Like It's 1999

The European auto market is wallowing in the ditch. Thousands of workers are fighting for their jobs and industry leaders are warning of years of slogging ahead. But in Geneva, the Old World's luxury car brands are partying like it's 1999. The annual Geneva Motor Show has long been a showcase for the premier luxury brands to strut their wares. This year's no exception, despite the grim condition of the mainstream European auto industry.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Ford Motor CEO Mulally Gets Nearly $12 Million in Performance Bonuses

Ford Motor Co Chief Executive Alan Mulally this week was awarded performance bonuses worth nearly $12 million, Ford disclosed to U.S. regulators on Tuesday. The amount Mulally makes from the shares depends on their value on the day he sells them. They were worth $11.7 million based on Tuesday's closing price of $12.88. Ford also said Mulally received $7 million of shares that became fully vested this week, based on 2010 equity awards. In addition, Mulally was awarded 745,526 shares in stock options with a strike price of $12.75 a share, which was Monday's closing price for Ford stock. Ford filed documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday showing the stock awards for Mulally and other Ford executives. Mulally, 67, has led the turnaround of the No. 2 U.S. automaker since he became chief executive of a then-struggling company in 2006.
Source: Fox Business

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Web-Connected Cars Bring Privacy Concerns

Cars will soon be so linked into wireless networks they will be like giant rolling smartphones — with calling systems, streaming video, cameras and apps capable of harnessing the unprecedented trove of data vehicles will produce about themselves and the humans who drive them. The battle over who can access all this data is an awkward undercurrent amid recent announcements by car manufacturers touting their new, Internet-capable vehicle systems.
Source: The Washington Post

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Quotable
 "We have [cut back] but we're doing it intelligently. If you can afford to invest, now is a great time to launch new products and steal market share."

    -- Nissan Motor Co. Executive Vice President Andy Palmer, commenting on the automaker's plan to push ahead despite the gloom in Europe, The Wall Street Journal, March 5

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