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Inside this issue
Experts: Electric Cars a Decade From the Mainstream
Funding Rift Prompted Resignation of Fisker Founder, Report Says
No End to Falling European Car Sales
U.S. Expresses 'Serious Concern' About Japan's Auto Trade Policy
'No Silver Bullet' For Reaching Fuel and Emissions Goals, Study Says
5 Ways Dealers Can Take Advantage of Improving Used Supply
Ford to Pay Workers $750 Million in Belgium Plant Closing
What to Watch for at New York Auto Show Next Week
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Experts: Electric Cars a Decade From the Mainstream

Electric vehicles are still a decade from becoming mainstream, experts said at Tuesday's Megatrends auto conference in Dearborn [Mich.]. "Continuous improvement in gas engines will continue to push plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles farther into the future," said Michael Omotoso, senior manager, global powertrain forecast, with LMC Automotive. The Troy [Mich.]-based firm does not see electric vehicles hitting 1% of the market until 2018. And a recent Harris poll showed that 60% of consumers in the showroom today are interested in hybrids and one in four shoppers are interested in plug-in hybrids, Tinskey said.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Funding Rift Prompted Resignation of Fisker Founder, Report Says

The abrupt resignation of Fisker Automotive's founder Henrik Fisker was prompted by disagreements with the company's chief executive over funding and operational strategy, two people familiar with the matter said. Friction between Fisker and CEO Tony Posawatz came to a head as the cash-strapped "green car" start-up stepped up efforts to find a financial backer to buy a stake and help build its second model, the Atlantic plug-in hybrid, the sources told Reuters. Fisker left last week at a sensitive time for the company, which has been in strategic talks with China's Geely, the owner of Sweden's Volvo, and state-owned Dongfeng Motor Group Co. Geely has since bowed out of bidding process, sources have said, though they added the decision was not related to Fisker's resignation. While both executives agreed that the company needed a strategic partner after the rocky, delayed introduction of the $100,000 plus Karma plug-in hybrid, they were at odds over whether to rely on federal funds and the extent of the financing needed.
Source: Reuters

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No End to Falling European Car Sales

European car sales keep falling, and American automakers are among the biggest losers in the shrinking market, industry data showed Tuesday. European Union new passenger car registrations slid 10.5 percent in February from a year earlier, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association said in Brussels. It was the 17th consecutive drop, with sales falling everywhere except Britain, where they rose 7.9 percent. E.U. sales, at 795,482 cars, came in at the lowest recorded for the month of February since the records started in 1990, Quynh-Nhu Huynh, statistical director for the automakers' association, said. She noted that in February 1990, new car sales totaled 1.1 million — at a time when the European Union had just 15 members. “Unless there's a turnaround in the middle of the year, we appear to be headed for the worst performance ever,” Ms. Huynh said.
Source: The New York Times

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U.S. Expresses 'Serious Concern' About Japan's Auto Trade Policy

Big 3, union fear dropping tariffs could lead to job losses

President Barack Obama has "serious concern" about Japan's auto trade policy, a senior administration official said Tuesday. Acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis told the Senate Finance Committee that the administration wants to see Japan make more progress on auto issues. Last week, Japan asked to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks, a group of 11 nations led by the U.S. Detroit's Big Three automakers, many members of Congress and the United Auto Workers union oppose letting Japan join the talks, known as TPP, that have been going on since November 2011. "We have a long history with Japan on automotive issues. It's a serious concern to the president and we are working very hard to ensure that should Japan join the TPP that we are able to address the long-standing issues that we have in the auto sector," Marantis said. "We've made progress with Japan but our work continues."
Source: The Detroit News

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'No Silver Bullet' For Reaching Fuel and Emissions Goals, Study Says

The United States could possibly achieve the goal of an 80 percent reduction in oil use and greenhouse gas emissions from cars and small trucks by 2050, but it will not be easy, a National Research Council report said. Simply making conventional vehicles more fuel efficient cannot by itself bring the target within reach, the report, which was released on Monday, says. Average fleet fuel economy “would have to exceed 180 m.p.g.,” which “is extremely unlikely, at least with current identifiable technologies,” says the report from the council, which is an arm of the National Academy of Sciences. The committee preparing the report focused on vehicles running on electricity, biofuels or hydrogen, as well as conventional cars and trucks with high-efficiency gasoline technology. The committee concluded that the wide deployment of at least two of them would have to be combined with strong federal policy if the goal were to be met.
Source: The New York Times

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5 Ways Dealers Can Take Advantage of Improving Used Supply

In light of predictions pointing to stronger used supply this year, Auto Remarketing reached out to three leading remarketing industry experts to see what five points of advice they have for dealers to get the most out of this changing dynamic. Click here to see what NADA Used Car Guide's Jonathan Banks had to say.
Source: Auto Remarketing

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Ford to Pay Workers $750 Million in Belgium Plant Closing

4,000 employees to get about $187,500 each in benefits

Ford Motor Co. will pay approximately 4,000 hourly workers at its Genk, Belgium, assembly plant a total of $750 million in separation benefits, the Dearborn [Mich.] automaker disclosed in a regulatory filing Tuesday. Ford now will be able to close the facility by the end of next year as it looks to cut excess capacity to meet dwindling demand in economically challenged Europe. The 4,000 employees will receive about $187,500 each. Ford has also begun negotiating with about 300 salaried workers. The cost of closing the plant was expected to top $1 billion, analysts projected at Ford's announcement in October.
Source: The Detroit News

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What to Watch for at New York Auto Show Next Week

Expo's 900,000-square-foot show floor will feature more than 1,000 vehicles, including a host making their world or U.S.-market debuts. Billed as the "first and largest-attended" U.S. auto show, the 113-year-old New York International Auto Show also may be the most ironic — hosted by the only U.S. city in which more than half the residents don't own a car. Nonetheless. the expo's 900,000-square-foot show floor will feature more than 1,000 vehicles, including a host making their world or U.S.-market debuts. Automakers will begin their unveilings with pre-show events on Tuesday and continue with the show media days on Wednesday and Thursday at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. Then the public show runs Friday through April 7. Click here for a list of highlights and debuts expected this year.
Source: USA Today & Cars.com

Editor's note: The 2013 Automotive Forum, presented by NADA and J.D. Power and Associates, will be held in New York on Tuesday, March 26. The full-day forum, hosted by the New York International Auto Show, will bring together leaders from manufacturing, retailing and the media to discuss the future of the auto industry. To register or view the full agenda, visit www.AutoForumNY.com.

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Quotable
"There's no single pathway, no silver bullet adequate by itself to meet the [fuel and emissions] goals." 

    -- Douglas M. Chapin, chairman of the committee that prepared the recent National Research Council's report on fuel and emissions goals, commenting on the results, The New York Times, March 19
Register Today for Auto Forum in NYC March 26

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