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Inside this issue
U.S. Will Allow Japan to Join Trade Talks Despite Concerns Over Autos
Proposed Tax Credit Change For Electric Vehicles Doesn't Thrill Auto Dealers
CEO Dan Akerson: GM Europe Needed Better Management
GM Sees U.S. Divestment on Original Schedule
Steel Will Remain Dominant in Autos
Much of Tax Refunds Will Go For Auto-Related Spending
Virginia Auto Dealer Honors Family and Employees through NADA Foundation
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
U.S. Will Allow Japan to Join Trade Talks Despite Concerns Over Autos

The Obama administration said Friday it will allow Japan to join 11-nation free trade talks — a blow to U.S. automakers, which have strongly lobbied to keep the world's third largest economy out of the talks. On Friday, the Obama administration said Japan could join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the talks aimed at creating a free trade zone that would account for 40 percent of the world's economy.
Source: The Detroit News

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Proposed Tax Credit Change For Electric Vehicles Doesn't Thrill Auto Dealers

The nation's auto dealers aren't too excited with a proposal made by the White House to move more alternative fuel vehicles, saying it most likely will be too complicated to be workable. On Wednesday, President Barack Obama unveiled his budget proposal for the next fiscal year. In it, he included a plan to expand a tax credit currently available to people who purchase plug-in electric vehicles. Under the new proposal, the tax credit – currently capped at $7,500 – would go to $10,000, and it would be good for vehicles that run on just about any alternative fuel not already in wide use. But the proposals also calls for shifting the credit from the purchaser – who can claim it on his or her taxes – to the person who sells or finances the purchase, meaning the dealer in many cases. Bailey Wood, a spokesman for the National Automobile Dealers Association, said that while the group's members love incentives, this one causes more headaches than it is worth. Transferring the credit to the dealer raises too many questions, he said, about who will be able to claim it and when, making it difficult to tell what – if any – benefit would be passed on to the consumer. “We just don't think it's workable in the showroom,” he said.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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CEO Dan Akerson: GM Europe Needed Better Management

General Motors finally has the right management team in place to fix its unprofitable European unit, CEO Dan Akerson said Thursday in London. In a wide-ranging speech and interview at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Akerson said GM will not give up on its Germany-based Opel division, despite some analysts’ suggestion that GM sell it. Earlier in the day, he met with Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the automaker’s money-losing European operations. Last year, he ousted several Opel executives and installed GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky as the company’s interim Europe chief to design a turnaround plan.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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GM Sees U.S. Divestment on Original Schedule

General Motors Co. Chief Executive Dan Akerson said on Thursday he hopes the U.S. Treasury will meet its goal to sell its remaining stake in the Detroit auto maker by the end of March 2014. "They have said between now and the end of the first quarter next year; I hope so," Mr. Akerson said on the sidelines of a speech at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The comments suggest the Treasury is in no rush to accelerate its exit from the auto maker, leaving GM stuck with the "Government Motors" moniker for another year. Mr. Akerson is eager for the government to get out of GM since its continued involvement tarnishes the company's image.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Steel Will Remain Dominant in Autos

Reports of steel's demise as a dominant automotive material are greatly exaggerated, the head of U.S. Steel said Thursday. “Steel is an incredibly green material. Steel can be recycled continuously without affecting its key performance attributes,” said CEO John Surma, speaking to the Automotive Press Association luncheon in Detroit. Automakers are using lighter-weight materials such as aluminum and magnesium to improve gas mileage and meet the U.S. government's Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) goal of 54.5 m.p.g. by 2025. The general rule of thumb is that fuel economy rises by at least 3% to 4% when the vehicle's mass is reduced by 10%. That presents a threat to steel, which still represents about 60% of an average vehicle's weight, according to the Steel Market Development Institute. Steel is less expensive than aluminum and other alteratives, and the industry has developed a lighter-weight, high-strength steel that can help automakers boost fuel economy and reduce mass.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Much of Tax Refunds Will Go For Auto-Related Spending

A third of the consumers who received or are expecting tax refunds this year plan to sink some of that cash into vehicle-related purchases such as a new- or used-vehicle or repairs, an eBay Inc. study found. The online survey of 5,000 people aged 18 to 60, conducted on behalf of eBay in March, was released [Thursday]. Clayton Stanfield, senior manager of dealer training at eBay, says the survey is more proof for dealers that many consumers have money right now and are ready to spend it on vehicles.
Source: Automotive News

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Virginia Auto Dealer Honors Family and Employees through NADA Foundation

H. Carter Myers, III, a third generation new-car dealer in Virginia, has chosen to honor family members and dealership employees by naming them Ambassadors of the National Automobile Dealers Charitable Foundation. “The Ambassadors program allows benefactors to basically set up a personal foundation that will contribute funds to a cause in perpetuity,” said Myers, who served as chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association in 2002. “Dealers want to contribute to the communities where they work and operate their businesses, and the Ambassadors program allows us to do that. It’s a great program.”
Source: NADAFrontPage.com

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Quotable
"We are not quitting. Tenacity pays off."

   
-- GM CEO Dan Akerson, commenting on the automaker's plan to not give up on Opel, its unprofitable European unit, Detroit Free Press, April 12
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