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Inside this issue
Tesla's Direct Sales Business Model Targeted By N.C. Bill
The Real Reason Tesla Is Still Alive (And Other Green Car Companies Aren't)
Owens Legislation Eliminates Needless Mandate
Electric-Car Maker Coda Adds Recall to List of Troubles
Detroit Vehicles Outperform Imports in Quality Study
Akerson Sees GM Profits Streaming From In-Vehicle Connections
Young Americans Lead Trend to Less Driving
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Tesla's Direct Sales Business Model Targeted By N.C. Bill

A proposed bill in North Carolina that would make it illegal for electric car maker Tesla Motors to use its direct-sales method to sell cars in the state. The bill, which passed the state Senate in a unanimous vote Monday night, would prohibit car manufacturers or dealers from selling their cars to consumers without using a licensed dealer. Manufacturers would be barred from "using a computer or other communications facilities, hardware, or equipment" to sell or lease a car to anyone in the state, according to the legislation. If approved, the bill would render a car manufacturer like Tesla unable to legally sell cars in the state. Since the company bypasses traditional dealerships by selling directly to consumers and allows buyers to place their orders online, it would not meet the state's definition of a "dealer." Robert Glaser, president of the North Carolina Automobile Dealers' Association, which supports the legislation, told ABC News that car manufacturers have been barred from selling directly to consumers in North Carolina since the mid-1970s. The only thing the bill changes, he said, is who qualifies as a dealer, which was updated to include manufacturers like Tesla that eliminate the use of in-state dealers.
Source: ABC News

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The Real Reason Tesla Is Still Alive (And Other Green Car Companies Aren't)

Say goodbye to another green car start-up. Vehicle Production Group, which planned to build thousands of wheelchair-accessible vans powered by natural gas, has called it quits. According to Bloomberg, the company ran out of money and couldn’t pay its 100 employees anymore. Add VPG to the growing list of recent green car failures: Bright Automotive (electric delivery vans) , Carbon Motors (clean diesel-powered police cars), Aptera Motors (three-wheeled electric cars), Coda Automotive (inexpensive electric sedans) and, arguably the most infamous, Fisker Automotive (plug-in hybrid sports cars). That leaves only Tesla Motors, maker of the plug-in Tesla roadster and the new Model S sedan, still standing. Which begs the question: why has Tesla made it when so many others have not?
Source: Forbes

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Owens Legislation Eliminates Needless Mandate

Congressman Bill Owens co-sponsored a bill, later signed into law, that removes an obsolete federal mandate that affected automobile dealers. Under the law, dealers are no longer required to keep copies of the booklet "Relative Collision Insurance Cost Information" on hand for distribution to customers who request it. Failure to provide the booklet had been punishable by a fine of up to $1,000. That mandate had been in effect for 21 years. On Tuesday morning, [Owens] presented a framed copy of the legislation with the signature of President Barack Obama to Bill McBride Sr. of Bill McBride Chevrolet. Owens said ... McBride provided input on the needless requirement. Michael Harrington, NADA's executive director for legislative affairs, said a survey of 815 automobile dealers revealed that 96 percent said they had never had a customer request the information. Harrington said most people do their research on the Internet when buying a car and that the agency is exploring making the information available there rather than in a hard copy. "We're saving the taxpayers a little money," he said.
Source: Press-Republican (Plattsburgh, N.Y.)
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Electric-Car Maker Coda Adds Recall to List of Troubles

Add another problem to Coda Holdings Inc.'s fraught launch of its electric sedan. In addition to selling few cars—and ending up in bankruptcy protection—Coda Monday said that the airbags in the vehicles that did find owners have a “potential safety issue.” Crash-testing in March by the National Highway and Transportation Safety Authority found that the cars' side curtain airbags “did not deploy as intended upon impact,” according to court papers filed by the company. The airbags still met applicable safety standards, but Coda acknowledged that there's some risk associated with the problem.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Detroit Vehicles Outperform Imports in Quality Study

Car makers known as the Detroit Three may be turning out their best, most competitive products in the last 10 years, according to a new study. Longtime auto industry research and consulting company Strategic Vision released its 2013 Total Quality Index study that rates vehicles within their segments. The company said domestic brands won more TQI awards than competing brands from overseas this year – the first time that has happened in more than a decade.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Akerson Sees GM Profits Streaming From In-Vehicle Connections

One of the first things Dan Akerson did as CEO of General Motors Co. in 2010 was dive into the automaker's telecommunications business to get more profit from that in-car connection. The former telecom executive wanted to know when GM could boost the speed of data services into its vehicles to 4G. More than 6 million customers in the U.S., Canada and China subscribe to OnStar, which provides diagnostic, directional and safety services through a 2G cellular service. He saw the chance for far more services than giving directions to lost drivers. What Akerson envisions makes plain old GPS seem as outdated as a horse and buggy.
Source: Bloomberg

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Young Americans Lead Trend to Less Driving

Dan Mauney keeps misplacing his car. Mr. Mauney, 42, lives in an apartment tower in this city's Uptown neighborhood, a pedestrian-friendly quarter with new office buildings, sparkling museums and ambitious restaurants. He so seldom needs to drive that when he does go to retrieve his car in his building's garage, he said, “I always forget where I parked it.” Charlotte and other American cities have not abandoned their cars or their sprawling growth. But people like Mr. Mauney are part of the reason that American driving patterns have downshifted — perhaps for years to come.
Source: The New York Times

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Quotable
"We believe that Tesla, like all the other auto dealers in the state, should get a license, appoint a dealer, fall under the protection of the Department of Motor Vehicles, and sell cars. We just want them to play by the same set of rules that the other ... dealers in the state do."

   
-- Robert Glaser, president of the North Carolina Automobile Dealers' Association, commenting on the bill that recently passed the N.C. Senate that would make it illegal for Tesla to use its direct-sales method to sell cars in the state, ABC News, May 14
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