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Inside this issue
US Consumer Spending, Income Jump in February
Aging Vehicles Leave Toyota North America Chief Optimistic on New Sales
Hyundai Expects U.S. Share to Drop
Fiat Said to Seek $2.5 Billion Loan Before Chrysler Purchase
Opinion: SB 126 [New Hampshire] Is A Very Good Investment
Subaru Unveils Its First Hybrid
EPA Rule Would Cut Smog-Causing Sulfur in Gas
A Safety-First Message Aimed at Getting More Youths Behind the Wheel
Local Car Dealer Turns Film Producer
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
US Consumer Spending, Income Jump in February

U.S. consumers stepped up spending in February after their income jumped, aided by a stronger job market that offset some of the drag from higher taxes. The gains led economists to predict stronger economic growth at the start of the year. Consumer spending rose 0.7 percent in February from January, the Commerce Department said Friday. It was the biggest gain in five months and followed a revised 0.4 percent rise in January, which was double the initial estimate. The gains in spending and income follow other signs of an economy gathering momentum. Hiring is up, businesses are spending more, the stock market is hitting record levels and the housing recovery is strengthening. More spending by consumers should boost economic growth in the January-March quarter after a lull at the end of last year.
Source: The Associated Press

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Aging Vehicles Leave Toyota North America Chief Optimistic on New Sales

Toyota Motor Corp's top North American executive on Thursday voiced optimism about the U.S. economy, and said the aging cars and trucks in consumers' garages will continue to drive industry demand this year. Jim Lentz, newly appointed chief executive of North America, said the Japanese automaker sees U.S. industry new-car sales hitting 15.3 million this year, up from 14.5 million in 2012. Just six months ago, its 2013 forecast was for 14.7 million, but the company at the time believed talk of the fiscal cliff's impact would dampen the economy.
Source: Reuters

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Hyundai Expects U.S. Share to Drop

Hyundai Motor Co. expects to lose U.S. market share for a second year in a row because it is selling all the cars it can build. The South Korea-based auto maker anticipates its U.S. sales growth will lag the industry overall, despite posting record sales months and adding a third shift at a factory in Alabama to boost output of its popular Elantra compact, said John Krafcik, chief executive for Hyundai's U.S. unit. "We think we can grow about 4% this year," Mr. Krafcik said, speaking at the New York International Auto Show this week.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Fiat Said to Seek $2.5 Billion Loan Before Chrysler Purchase

Fiat SpA is approaching banks to refinance a 1.95 billion-euro ($2.5 billion) credit line as the Italian carmaker weighs options to buy the Chrysler Group LLC stake it doesn’t own, two people familiar with the matter said. Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of both automakers, is seeking as soon as next month to refinance the revolving credit line expiring next year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Fiat doesn’t comment on its finance strategy, a representative said. The CEO aims to acquire the 41.5 percent of Chrysler held by the United Auto Workers’ medical benefits trust and merge the two carmakers to create a global automaker out of the two regional manufacturers. Fiat is relying on Chrysler to sustain earnings after the loss at the Italian automaker’s mass-market brands widened in Europe in 2012 to more than 700 million euros.
Source: Bloomberg

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Opinion: SB 126 [New Hampshire] Is A Very Good Investment

Under a free enterprise system businesses should be as free as possible from government regulation and interferences. But when relationships between businesses become lopsided because one side abuses its advantages of size and might over the other, it is time for government to step in and level the playing field. Such is the case with SB 126, amendments to the state's decades-old Dealer Bill of Rights, which passed the N.H. Senate recently by a seldom heard of margin of 21-2 and now heads to the House. SB 126 has been the topic of two Foster's Daily Democrat editorial board meetings — one last week with the representatives of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and one this week with members of the New Hampshire Auto Dealers Association. During the meeting with NHADA members we heard story after story of local dealers — your friends and neighbors, the ones who support local youth programs and booster clubs — being forced out of business or being strong armed to spend hundreds of thousands, if not at times millions, of needless dollars to build or rebuild showrooms every few years. But there is more to SB 126 than giving local dealers a fair shot at doing business the way they feel they should to serve the local market while keeping costs down. SB 126 is a shop-local bill. A dollar spent locally to buy a sign can have a tenfold impact on the local economy — moving on to pay salaries then to buy groceries and more — locally. In the end SB 126 is a good investment for all Granite Staters and worth overwhelming support in the N.H. House.
Source: Foster's Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)

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Subaru Unveils Its First Hybrid

Subaru is coming out with a gas-electric hybrid crossover SUV for the crunchy granola crowd that wants to save fuel but still haul kayaks to the river. The Japanese brand, which specializes in all-wheel-drive vehicles, [unveiled] the 2014 XV Crosstrek Hybrid on Thursday at the New York International Auto Show.
Source: The Associated Press

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EPA Rule Would Cut Smog-Causing Sulfur in Gas

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to propose new rules today that will require lower-sulfur fuels, which will help reduce smog-causing emissions from cars and trucks, the agency confirmed Friday. The long-awaited rule is supported by automakers who say the fuels are needed so their newer catalytic converters can better scrub the smog-causing particles out of vehicle emissions. The oil industry has opposed lowering the sulfur content of fuel, which it says is too costly and could increase the cost of gasoline production by up to nine cents per gallon, according to the American Petroleum Institute.
Source: USA Today

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A Safety-First Message Aimed at Getting More Youths Behind the Wheel

Madison Avenue and the automotive industry are fretting over a growing trend involving the important demographic group of young Americans known as millennials or Generation Y: more of them are just not that into driving, car culture or the lure of the open road. The shift in attitudes is being spurred by technology, in that many younger consumers are more interested in the newest smartphone or tablet than in the newest sedan or T-top. The cooling of the love affair between youths and cars could jeopardize billions of dollars in automotive sales — and billions of dollars in advertising spending in the automotive category, which is typically the largest category when United States ad expenditures are tallied each year. “The digitalization of our world, mobile phones and social media have allowed a certain level of independence,” said Loren Angelo, general manager for brand marketing at Audi of America in Herndon, Va., part of Volkswagen. “That’s what the automobile used to provide.”
Source: The New York Times

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Local Car Dealer Turns Film Producer

Scott Donley has sold cars successfully for the last 30 years, but recently he discovered his talents span far beyond the auto industry. On April 5, Donley’s first film, “Tomorrow You’re Gone,” will be shown at the AMC at Easton in Columbus [Ohio] and in Cincinnati [Ohio] and Time Warner Cable On Demand. The 49-year-old helped produce the picture starring Willem Dafoe, Michelle Monaghan and Stephen Dorff. “It’s pretty exciting,” said the owner of Donley Auto Group, which has [Ohio] locations in Galion, Shelby, Ashland and Mount Vernon. “This is something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Source: Mansfield News Journal (Mansfield, Ohio)

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More Articles
 
Quotable
"We're cautiously optimistic about a growing economy, but there's still a lot of uncertainty that can derail the consumer's attitude."

   
-- Jim Lentz, Toyota chief executive of North America, in an interview at the New York auto show, Reuters, March 28
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