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Inside this issue
Current Dealer Franchise System 'Works Really Well'
Obama Wants $2 Billion in Vehicle Technology Research Funding
U.S. Lawmakers Urge Obama to Keep Auto Tariffs on Japan
Buick's Road To Redemption
BMW Profits Rise in 'Most Successful Year' Ever
Porsche to Expand Dealership Network 33% as Line-Up Grows
GM Aims to Spend $38 Million on Michigan Plant Where it Plans to Move Camaro Output
Cars That Can Last For 250,000 Miles (Or More)
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Current Dealer Franchise System 'Works Really Well'

Hyundai North American CEO John Krafcik [won] applause from car dealers by encouraging them to stay the course and not adapt to trendy sales methods. “It seems like every day someone is bashing the U.S. retail system as being out of touch or inefficient,” he says. “The current system works. It works. And it works really well.” Krafcik, speaking at the National Automobile Dealer Assn. convention [last month], says auto makers shouldn’t meddle too much in the day-to-day affairs of dealers, criticizing efforts by electric-vehicle maker Tesla to set up “factory stores” and Ford’s recent intervention into dealer management. “The franchise system works because it’s the concentrated distillation of the American free-enterprise system,” Krafcik says. “At Hyundai, we are big fans of this system and huge supporters of our retail network."
Source: WardsAuto Dealer Business (March 2013)

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Obama Wants $2 Billion in Vehicle Technology Research Funding

President Barack Obama will call on Congress to approve $2 billion in funding for advanced vehicle technologies by tapping funds generated from oil and gas exploration on federal waters, the latest in a series of proposals to boost the nascent market for alternatively powered cars and trucks. Obama will make the proposal at an appearance at the Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, the White House said in a fact sheet released ahead of his speech. He will call on Congress to set aside $2 billion over the next decade for research, including electric vehicles, batteries, compressed natural gas and biofuels. Obama proposed the idea in his State of the Union address last month, when he called for taking a share of revenue from oil and gas leases on federal lands and placing it in an "Energy Security Trust" fund, but didn't put a price tag on it.
Source: The Detroit News

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U.S. Lawmakers Urge Obama to Keep Auto Tariffs on Japan

Four dozen Democratic lawmakers on Thursday expressed concern about Japan joining free trade talks with the United States and urged President Barack Obama to maintain U.S. tariffs on Japanese autos and trucks. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe [Thursday] announced Japan's interest in joining talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed free trade deal between the United States and 10 countries.
Source: Reuters/Bloomberg

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Buick's Road To Redemption

General Motors' Buick arm, which has been trying since at least 1986 to attract younger buyers, has made some impressive progress in the past 5 years. It hasn't been easy for the 110-year-old brand, which until 1919 was GM's best-selling line. In the past 20-plus years, Buick struggled with models too similar to other GM products and shifting ad messages that muddied its brand image. Although Buick was boosting sales in China after it re-entered that market in 1996, its performance at home kept sliding, hitting only a little over 100,000 units in 2009. Buick has been working hard to shed its stodgy, senior-citizen image. Armed with better-looking models with improved interiors and slick features, Buick has not only boosted sales in the U.S. for the past three years, but has been attracting more non-GM buyers as well as younger ones.
Source: Forbes

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BMW Profits Rise in 'Most Successful Year' Ever

German automaker BMW says net profit increased 4.4 percent to $6.6 billion in 2012 - hailing it as its "most successful year" - thanks to a big sales jump in Asia and a better market in the United States. The company, based in Munich, said Thursday that unit sales rose 31 percent in Asia, including a 40 percent rise in China excluding Hong Kong, and 14 percent in in the U.S. Sales of the 1-series compact increased 28 percent while the mainstay 3-series sedan saw a 6 percent rise. Overall revenues rose 12 percent. The company said profits rose less steeply than revenues because of investments in new technologies and increased personnel costs. Still, CEO Norbert Reithofer called it "the most successful year in BMW Group corporate history."
Source: Associated Press

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Porsche to Expand Dealership Network 33% as Line-Up Grows

Porsche AG, the Volkswagen AG unit that builds the 911 sports car, plans to expand its sales network 33 percent by 2018 as demand for upscale vehicles jumps in emerging markets such as China and its model line grows. Porsche will invest 200 million euros ($260 million) annually to increase the number of dealerships to 1,000 outlets in five years from 750, Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller said at a press conference at the brand's Stuttgart, Germany-based headquarters.
Source: Bloomberg

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GM Aims to Spend $38 Million on Michigan Plant Where it Plans to Move Camaro Output

General Motors wants to invest more than $38 million in a Lansing, Mich., plant where it plans to move Chevrolet Camaro production. The proposed expansion could create 150 jobs at the 2.5 million-square-foot Grand River assembly plant, which builds the Cadillac CTS family and ATS, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said Thursday. In December, GM said it plans to move production of the next-generation Camaro to the Grand River plant from Oshawa, Ontario. The company cited lower capital investment and improved production efficiencies. The move is expected in 2015. Moving Camaro output to the Grand River plant will allow GM to consolidate production of the rear-wheel-drive sports car with the rwd CTS and ATS.
Source: Automotive News

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Cars That Can Last For 250,000 Miles (Or More)

Whether by necessity or choice, U.S. motorists are holding onto their cars for longer than ever, with the age of the average vehicle on the road at a record-high 10.8 years, according to the research company R.L. Polk in Southfield Mich. By comparison, the average life expectancy of a new car in 1930 was a scant 6.75 years. Fortunately, today's cars are more than up to the task of going the distance. “Owners who keep their vehicles beyond the manufacturer's warranty period are able to have greater peace of mind that vehicles are becoming increasingly more dependable,” says David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates. Click here for a list of the top 10 vehicles that can last for 250,000 miles.
Source: Forbes

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Quotable
"It seems like every day someone is bashing the U.S. retail system as being out of touch or inefficient. The current system works. It works. And it works really well."

    -- Hyundai North American CEO John Krafcik, commenting on the current dealer franchise system, WardsAuto Dealer Business, March 2013
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