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Inside this issue
Ford Focus Grabs Global Sales Crown as World Buys Small
Hybrid-Car Maker Fisker Gets Closer to Chapter 11
Register Now for Free Webinar April 10: Insights from the Dealership Workforce Study
GM Hopes to Woo New Customers With Impala, Sets 70% Retail Sales Goal
Car Tech Isn't Failing. Owners and Infotainment Interfaces Are
Ford Fund Invests $550K in Texas Community Programs
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Top Stories
Ford Focus Grabs Global Sales Crown as World Buys Small

It's official: The Ford Focus was the best-selling car in the world in 2012. And while the title comes with all sorts of caveats, the rise of the nameplate says all kinds of things about the U.S. and Asian automotive industries, the importance of global manufacturing and how Thailand became the new Spain. Ford Motor Co., leading U.S. automakers in building their best cars in decades, registered 1.02 million Focus cars in 2012, topping 872,774 for Toyota Motor Corp.'s Corolla, according to R.L. Polk & Co. data that Ford released today. Ford's F-Series pickup line was the No. 3 nameplate, its Fiesta subcompact was No. 6, and General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet Cruze was No. 8, ahead of Honda Motor Co.'s Civic.
Source: Bloomberg

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Hybrid-Car Maker Fisker Gets Closer to Chapter 11

Fisker Automotive Inc., the struggling manufacturer of plug-in hybrid sports cars, is in the final stages of preparing to file for bankruptcy protection after discussions with possible buyers faltered, said people familiar with the matter. The Anaheim, Calif.-based startup could seek Chapter 11 protection sometime within the next week, the people said. Fisker is in discussions with possible buyers to purchase the company in a bankruptcy auction, the people said, though the company hadn't reached a deal with anyone as of Monday.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Register Now for Free Webinar April 10: Insights from the Dealership Workforce Study

The NADA Dealership Workforce Study is proving to be an indispensable resource to help dealers manage their workforce more effectively in a competitive marketplace. The "Insights from the Dealership Workforce Study" webinar will give participants a taste of the 2012 report findings, which include how pay plans, benefits, work schedules, paid time-off and employee engagement impact productivity and total gross profit of your dealership. Join NADA University and presenter Ted Kraybill of DeltaTrends at 1 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, April 10, to learn how participating in the 2013 report will help your dealership profitability by fine-tuning compensation and benefit strategies, and implementing new strategies for improving employee retention and productivity. Click here to register.
Source: NADA University

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GM Hopes to Woo New Customers With Impala, Sets 70% Retail Sales Goal

General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet brand is aiming to boost the lease rate on its flagship 2014 Impala sedan from about zero today to at least the segment average of about 35 percent, a Chevy executive said Monday. The 2013 Impala is mostly a fleet vehicle; 70 percent of sales are to fleet customers. But Chevy wants to sell 70 percent of the all-new 2014 Impala — just hitting dealerships — to retail customers.
Source: The Detroit News

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Car Tech Isn't Failing. Owners and Infotainment Interfaces Are

Kris Reynier recently bought a 2012 Porsche Cayenne S that she “ordered with an incredible list of options.” But even though the Hood River, Oregon resident and owner of a small interactive design agency considers herself tech savvy, she says she still doesn't fully understand, and consequently doesn't use, all the infotainment features of her Cayenne SUV. Even though in-car electronics have become increasingly sophisticated, they haven't necessarily become more prone to failure or even more difficult to work on. In reality, it's quite the opposite. While investigating whether the current explosion of automotive technology will cause owners of a late-model cars to visit a shop more often, everyone we spoke with agreed that the biggest failure with in-car technology has little to do with vehicle systems and more to do with owners.

According to Brad Lawson of the National Automobile Dealers Association, the switch from analog to digital systems years ago helped pave the way for newer technology to be more reliable – and easier to repair. “Whether it's computer controlled or maybe even still analog, most of the control circuitry is all replaceable,” he says. “So it's not like someone's gonna get in there and solder two wires together, test it and get back out." Lawson adds that most automotive electronics typically run on such low voltage that it requires sophisticated diagnostics systems built into components that know when a function isn't working. “In some cases it's nothing more than resetting a default code,” he says. “There's not a lot of repair work that goes into that.”
Source: Wired

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Ford Fund Invests $550K in Texas Community Programs

More than a half-million dollars will be at work within North Texas communities over the next year, as the Ford Motor Company Fund partners with local dealers to address three areas of citizen concern. On Friday, the fund announced its investment of $550,000 in North Texas community programs and nonprofits during the next 12 months, as part of a new partnership with area Ford dealers. That number brings Ford's North Texas donations during the past decade to more than $5 million, the company reported, and more than $20 million statewide. Ford said it is focusing its philanthropic efforts on the areas of education, teen driving safety and hunger relief.
Source: Auto Remarketing

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"The demand picture in the U.S. and China seems to be favoring where Ford is strong, which is increasingly in small cars. You’ve got an emerging market in China and a market that’s recreating itself in the U.S. that are favoring small cars, fuel efficiency and value."

-- Kevin Tynan, an analyst for Bloomberg Industries research, commenting on the Ford Focus being named as the best-selling car in the world in 2012, Bloomberg, April 9

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- April 10: Insights from the Dealership Workforce Study

- April 17: Do You Know Today’s Customer?

- April 17: Tips for Submitting a Great Workshop Proposal (2 p.m.)

- April 24: Success in a Changing Loyalty Landscape

- May 1: Prospect Your Way to Greatness

- May 8: Facilities Study Results You Need to Know

- May 15: Twenty-two Minutes to Driving Traffic!

- May 22: Multiply & Conquer With Multichannel Marketing

- May 29: Create a Task-Based Accounting Office

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