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Inside this issue
Fiat Mulling U.S. Headquarters Bolsters Industry's Revamp
Opinion: To GM, a Bureaucrat Is a Bureaucrat
Pickups: America Falls Back in Love
NHTSA Confirms New Deputy, Considers Push for Automatic Braking
U.S. to Monitor Cybersecurity Risks as Car Connectivity Grows
Subaru, Mitsubishi Top Small Crossover Segment in New Crash Test
Iron Man Spares Life of an Audi R8
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Fiat Mulling U.S. Headquarters Bolsters Industry's Revamp

Fiat SpA is considering moving its headquarters to the U.S., a market that is enjoying an auto-industry revival, after a planned merger with Chrysler Group LLC. Such a move could further reinvigorate Detroit. Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne is evaluating a switch to the U.S. from Turin, Italy, where Fiat was founded in 1899, three people familiar with the matter said. The main sources of revenue and profit for Italy's biggest manufacturer are shifting to North America, with 75 percent of 2012 operating profit coming from the region.
Source: Bloomberg
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Opinion: To GM, a Bureaucrat Is a Bureaucrat
By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

When it comes to arbitrary demands on auto makers, the U.S. still takes the cake

Taxpayers bailed out General Motors. Is China now "benefiting" from the bailout because GM is investing in China? Are Americans being shortchanged because they might be offered the opportunity to buy GM cars made in China? These mercantilist views, recently retailed on this very page by auto writer Ed Niedermeyer, should sound familiar. GM was assailed for investing in China before its bailout too. A GM chief calmly pointed out at the time that GM was making money in China, helping to cover its losses in the U.S. That answer might seem even more satisfactory now that taxpayers are shareholders in the company. About one thing, though, critics of GM's China ventures are right. Investing in China means weighing potential profit against the arbitrary exactions imposed by Chinese bureaucrats. Unfortunately this represents no point of distinction with the U.S. except that the American approach typically has been to impose ruinous mandates and then bargain over their relaxation.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Pickups: America Falls Back in Love

Texas is pickup truck country and the front line in an expanding battle among auto makers to load up on profits from pickups, one of the richest businesses up for grabs as the global auto business roars back to life. After years of waiting on the sidelines, pickup buyers are returning to dealer showrooms, offering millions of dollars in profit and potentially lifelong brand loyalty to Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. or Chrysler Group LLC and rivals. Sales of large pickups are up 20% for the first four months of this year compared with a year ago—bigger gains than in small cars or midsize cars, according to Autodata Corp. In Texas, pickups accounted for a whopping 23% of the state's 22.6 million registered vehicles last year. The battle for shoppers is expected to intensify into 2014.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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NHTSA Confirms New Deputy, Considers Push for Automatic Braking

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has confirmed David Friedman, previously a transportation analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, as its new deputy administrator. Friedman, an engineer by training who has pushed for stricter fuel economy standards and lower oil consumption while working at the advocacy group, replaces Ron Medford, who left NHTSA last year to lead Google Inc.'s self-driving cars project. NHTSA Administrator David Strickland made the announcement during a congressional hearing on crash-prevention features and other new technologies that could boost the safety of cars. During the hearing, Strickland said the agency is getting closer to calling for automatic braking.
Source: Automotive News

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U.S. to Monitor Cybersecurity Risks as Car Connectivity Grows

Rising cybersecurity risks to drivers as their cars become increasingly powered by and connected to computers have prompted federal auto-safety regulators to start a new office focusing on the threat. "These interconnected electronics systems are creating opportunities to improve vehicle safety and reliability, but are also creating new and different safety and cybersecurity risks," David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said in testimony before a Senate Commerce Committee hearing. "We don't want to be behind the eight ball." A new office within the agency to research vehicle-electronics safety will look at risks to the systems in cars and those that communicate with other vehicles.
Source: Bloomberg
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Subaru, Mitsubishi Top Small Crossover Segment in New Crash Test

The Subaru Forester and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport have won top honors from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, becoming the only small SUVs to ace the group's new "small overlap" crash test. Twenty vehicles have now received Top Safety Pick+ honors for safety in small overlap crashes, the IIHS said. The tests -- which replicate a crash in which the corner of a car collides with an object such as a tree or pole -- are not yet included in the federal government's five-star ratings, even though researchers say they are responsible for an outsized share of driving deaths.
Source: Automotive News

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Iron Man Spares Life of an Audi R8

Iron Man 3 is nearing the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office, but that doesn't mean it's any easier to see a perfectly good Audi R8 e-tron go crashing into the sea. It's just part of billionaire Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) losing everything in brilliant fashion. His beautiful Malibu house goes kaboom due to an attack by the terrorist villain called The Mandarin. That includes Tony Stark's prototype Audi R8 e-tron, seen charging inside the house at the time of the attack. First you see the car rattling around. Then director Shane Black seemed intent on highlighting the R8 falling into the ocean with the mansion in the fiery scene. The car-maker, who has been a partner in each of the films, understood the need to show the car's demise.
Source: USA Today
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Quotable
"I think it enhances the entire Motor City image. It is for us a coup, a home run. Actually a grand slam."

   
-- L. Brooks Patterson, top executive of Oakland County, Mich., commenting on the possibility of Fiat relocating its headquarters to the U.S. from Italy, Bloomberg, May 16
Videos

 Video: NADA Chief Economist Paul Taylor Discusses 1st Quarter Global Auto Sales in an Interview on CNBC (CNBC)


Video: NADA Analyst Jonathan Banks Predicts Strong Auto Sales in 2013 (NADA-TV)


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