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Inside this issue
Opinion: The Other Government Motors
Better Place's Failure Is Blow to Renault
Is the Dealership Sales Call Center Obsolete?
Ford's Global Ambitions Include Turning The World's Plastic Bottles Into Car Parts
New Audi Program Aims To Hire US Military Veterans
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Opinion: The Other Government Motors

Tesla by the numbers: How taxpayers made an electric car company

Tesla's share price has soared this year on rave reviews for its electric car, growing sales and its first quarterly profit. Rarely noted is how much this profit is a function of government subsidy and coercion. So let's take apart Tesla by the numbers, if only to give our reader-taxpayers a better sense of what they've paid to make Tesla's owners rich. The decade-old Tesla debuted its first product, the Roadster, in 2006. With a base price of $109,000, it was discontinued before it hit 2,500 sales. Tesla introduced its Model S a year ago and had sold an estimated 9,650 at a bargain $70,000 through April. By contrast, Ford sold 168,843 F-series pickup trucks in the first quarter alone. Tesla wouldn't have sold even that many cars without the extraordinary help of government. In 2009 the company received a $465 million Obama loan guarantee, supplemented last year by a $10 million grant from the California Energy Commission. Tesla's biggest windfall has been the cash payments it extracts from rival car makers (and their customers), via its sale of zero-emission credits. Taxpayers pay first so Tesla can build the cars and again to help the wealthy buy them. Another irony is that the main beneficiaries of this electric-car largesse belong to—well, the 1%. Tesla co-founder Elon Musk is already a successful entrepreneur, and his estimated net worth has soared past $4 billion thanks to the IPOs of Tesla and SolarCity. Tesla isn't oblivious to the politics of all this, and [last] Wednesday it said it had fully repaid its government loan. That's good, since Tesla's long-term prospects are far from certain. The major auto makers will soon have their own zero-emissions vehicles, which Mr. Musk says will end Tesla's credits boom by year end. Analysts are also warning that Tesla has yet to show it can sell its very pricey car to a mass market.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Better Place's Failure Is Blow to Renault

The financial collapse of electric-car venture Better Place Ltd., which filed for liquidation over the weekend, is a blow for French automotive group Renault SA, which helped the Israeli company develop its novel battery-switching system for electric cars. Founded by Israeli entrepreneur Shai Agassi in 2007, Better Place developed a system where electric-car owners could drive their vehicles into a network of stations around Israel and replace the car's battery with a new one in about the same amount of time it takes to fill a gasoline tank on a regular car. The "quick drop" system was supposed to remove one of the main obstacles to the adoption of electric vehicles, namely the several hours it takes to recharge a flat battery. But the system never attracted enough users to be commercially viable. "Unfortunately, after a year's commercial operation, it was clear to us that despite many satisfied customers, the wider public take up would not be sufficient and that the support from the car producers was not forthcoming," said Better Place Chief Executive Dan Cohen in a statement.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Is the Dealership Sales Call Center Obsolete?

New theory: All must be e-savvy

As Internet leads, mobile phone calls and texts swamp dealerships, business development centers are starting to look counterproductive to some dealers. That's odd, given that the centers are separate staffs of salespeople who work leads on the phone and the Web. But some dealers say the centers can shield regular salespeople from learning Internet sales techniques. And corrosive rivalries can form between the centers and regular sales staffs. Some dealers are dumping their business development centers, or BDCs, while others -- who defend the centers as the best way to handle the rising tide of Internet leads -- have worked out a truce between the two staffs.
Source: Automotive News
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Ford's Global Ambitions Include Turning The World's Plastic Bottles Into Car Parts

The next time you settle into the seat of a 2013 Ford Fusion, think about this: you're sitting on about 40 recycled plastic bottles. Ford Motor has been a leader in the use of recycled materials, starting in 2008 with the upholstery in the Ford Escape hybrid. Back then, Ford had to go outside the auto industry to find a textile manufacturer capable of producing recycled fabric. Now, it's a condition for doing business with the Dearborn, Mich., carmaker. Starting in 2009, Ford now requires suppliers of any new seat to use at least 25 percent recycled fabric. As a result, two-thirds of Ford's North American vehicle programs now use fabric made from recycled yarns. The redesigned Fusion, however, marks a new milestone with global implications: it is the first vehicle sold around the world to use recycled fabrics.
Source: Forbes
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New Audi Program Aims To Hire US Military Veterans

Audi has announced a new program called Veterans to Technicians which is designed to attract former military technicians to service jobs at its dealerships nationwide. The program was developed with the help of Calibre, a Virginia-based management and technology services company that helps the US Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs in their efforts to support veterans transitioning to civilian life. They will also assist in the Veterans to Technicians program by connecting veterans with Audi dealerships. This means working with the over 1,800 military service alumni groups as well as public and private groups that support military veterans. Audi expects the demand for service technicians, shop foremen and service consultants to double today's staffing levels by 2020. This makes it an ideal time to launch this program and tap into the veteran workforce to fill those positions.
Source: The Fast Lane Car
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More Articles
 
Quotable
" ... Tesla's long-term prospects are far from certain."   
          -- The Wall Street Journal in 
              an editorial on Tesla 
              Motors, May 23
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CFPB Guidance Lacks Transparency and Research
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