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Inside this issue
Video: How the Big Three U.S. Automakers Came Back
Toyota Eyes Big Growth Ahead In Emerging Markets
Japanese Auto Firms' Shares Soar
Daimler's Mercedes Enjoys Monthly Sales Record in March
Volvo Cars Sales Fall as Europe Weakness Continues
U.S. Considers Car Ratings For Elderly Drivers, Families
Ernest Hemingway's ... 1955 Chrysler New Yorker Is Getting A Restoration In Cuba
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Top Stories
Video: How the Big Three U.S. Automakers Came Back

Bloomberg Businessweek's Drake Bennett explains the return to strength of the big three automakers as Ford, General Motors and Chrysler embrace smaller, fuel-efficient cars. He speaks on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg Surveillance."
Source: Bloomberg TV

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Toyota Eyes Big Growth Ahead In Emerging Markets

It is no secret that Toyota Motors sees the next wave of growth coming from developing markets in Southeast Asia and South America. Low car ownership combined with rising disposable incomes bode well for the auto market demand in these countries in the long term. Toyota's image as a no-frills, low-maintenance and good value for money product company resonates well with the demands of customers in the emerging economies. Earlier this month, it opened its fourth auto plant in Indonesia at an investment of $340 million. The facility, which will take Toyota's annual capacity to 180,000, is part of the automaker's plans to make Indonesia an export hub. The plant will be initially used to manufacture Etios Valco, the model that was recently launched in the country.
Source: Forbes

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Japanese Auto Firms' Shares Soar

U.S. shares of Toyota, Honda and Nissan soared Thursday as investors anticipated that a weaker yen will allow them to sell cars more cheaply in the U.S. The Bank of Japan plans to increase the amount of cash in circulation, a move that will depress the value of the yen against the dollar. That will lower the cost of producing Japanese vehicles that are shipped and sold to Americans.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Daimler's Mercedes Enjoys Monthly Sales Record in March

Solid volume growth in its new range of compact cars helped propel sales of Daimler's Mercedes-Benz brand upwards to 139,920 vehicles, its single highest monthly tally ever. Thanks to the 6.5 percent increase last month, Mercedes marked a new record high in first-quarter car sales at 324,898 vehicles for a gain of 3.5 percent.
Source: Reuters

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Volvo Cars Sales Fall as Europe Weakness Continues

Volvo Car Corp. said Friday that its vehicle sales fell 10.4% on the year in March as strong growth in China failed to offset continued weakness in Europe and a sharp drop in U.S. sales. Volvo's sales in Europe declined 12.9% on the year, the company said, as consumer demand was kept weak by the sluggish economy. U.S sales dropped 19.9% but China continued to build momentum based on strong demand for Volvo's 60-Series, with a 19.8% rise in total sales.
Source: MarketWatch

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U.S. Considers Car Ratings For Elderly Drivers, Families

Federal safety regulators are considering new vehicle safety ratings that would help older people and families choose the safest vehicles. In a notice posted Thursday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is planning to update its New Car Assessment Program and is mulling a "silver" rating that would assess the safety of the vehicle for older occupants, and a "family" rating for how well it protects rear-seat passengers, including children. Both ratings would be in addition to NHTSA's five-star assessment program that's been in place since 1978. "As the U.S. population shifts in coming years, more vehicle drivers and passengers will be 65 and older," NHTSA said of the proposed silver rating, adding that older vehicle occupants are typically less able than younger people to withstand crash forces.
Source: The Detroit News

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Ernest Hemingway's ... 1955 Chrysler New Yorker Is Getting A Restoration In Cuba

Ernest Hemingway is said to have uttered the famous quote “There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.” While there is some debate over whether he said that or not, if it is true we can assume that he was probably a car guy, or at the very least, a racing fan. Now his 1955 Chrysler New Yorker convertible is getting restored — if the restorers can figure out how to get the necessary parts down to Cuba.
Source: Jalopnik

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Quotable
"Every year the bar gets set higher on quality metrics. What you see is that almost everybody is better than the very best were five to 10 years ago."

   
-- John Hoffecker, managing director at the consulting firm AlixPartners, commenting on increased competition among automakers to create higher quality products, Businessweek, April 4
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