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Inside this issue
American Auto Industry About to Go on Hiring Spree
Colorado Gets Added Muscle to State Franchise Laws
Japanese Auto Makers Rule Global Hybrid, EV Markets
Automakers Ramp Up U.S. Commercial Truck Offerings
BMW Regains Monthly Luxury-Car Sales Lead From Audi on X1
Ford's Lincoln Cuts Back on Free Maintenance
Tesla Motors Shares Face Drain From Pricey Batteries
GM R&D Boss Hints At Tesla-Surpassing Batteries
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
American Auto Industry About to Go on Hiring Spree

The auto industry is about to go on a hiring spree as car makers and parts suppliers race to find engineers, technicians and factory workers to build the next generation of vehicles. The new employees will be part of a larger, busier workforce. From coast to coast, the industry is in top gear. Factories are operating at about 95 percent of capacity, and many are already running three shifts. As a result, some auto and parts companies are doing something they've been reluctant to consider since the recession: Adding floor space and spending millions of dollars on new equipment.
Source: Associated Press

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Colorado Gets Added Muscle to State Franchise Laws

Colorado dealers have stronger franchise laws that they say now level the playing field with manufacturers. Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday signed into law a bill providing that all franchise protection laws enacted in the state's history will apply to all dealers regardless of when they signed their franchise agreements, says Colorado Automobile Dealers Association President Tim Jackson and the governor's Website. "This doesn't create any new rights for dealers, it ensures the protections that have been enacted into law by the Colorado General Assembly in previous years," Jackson says. The bill, introduced in the state's senate in April, is significant because in 2009, 2010 and 2011 the state legislature passed key franchise protection laws, including one in 2011 that limits manufacturer-mandated renovations to no more than every seven years, Jackson says. But some manufacturers ignored the new laws saying the dealer signed a franchise agreement prior to the law being passed, Jackson says. The days of manufacturers being able to make that argument "are gone for them" now, says Don Hicks, CEO of Shortline Auto Group in Aurora, Colo., and a board member of CADA and the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Source: Automotive News
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Japanese Auto Makers Rule Global Hybrid, EV Markets

Japanese auto makers continued dominating the hybrid- and electric-vehicle markets in 2012, with sales growing to an estimated 1.6 million units, more than 85% of global demand. Toyota and Honda were the industry leaders in hybrids while Nissan, despite failing to meet its sales targets for the Leaf EV, was still the hands-down winner in the all-electric segment.
Source: WardsAuto

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Automakers Ramp Up U.S. Commercial Truck Offerings

When Daimler AG, the maker of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars and former owner of Chrysler, brought its Euro-styled Sprinter van with a 14-foot high roof and sloped brow to the U.S., it stood out on the parkway like a pachyderm. A dozen years later, the commercial-van market has embraced the look. Traditional, big vans, such as General Motors Co.'s Chevy Express and Ford Motor Co.'s Econoline, are starting to fade from the scene as stricter fuel-efficiency standards are prodding a convergence around a more aerodynamic, European look. Len Deluca, director of Ford's commercial trucks unit, said the E-Series, market leader for 33 years, was due for a makeover. "From a technology, fuel-efficiency and capability standpoint, it was time," Deluca said in an interview. Automakers, including Daimler, Ford and Chrysler Group LLC, are all bringing new, large, fuel-sipping work vans to the U.S. as they gear up for a boom in the highly profitable segment. The surge is fueled by new-home construction and an improving economy, the same forces helping make 2013 the year of the pickup, said Tritt. Commercial vans, like pickups, have long been a strong source of profit for automakers.
Source: Bloomberg
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BMW Regains Monthly Luxury-Car Sales Lead From Audi on X1

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG's namesake brand regained the monthly sales crown from Volkswagen AG's Audi division as the small X1 sport-utility vehicle and new 3-Series sedan won customers. BMW's global deliveries in May rose 7.8 percent from a year earlier to 139,161 cars and SUVs, the Munich-based company said in a statement today. Demand at Audi in May rose 6.4 percent to 137,200 units. Third-ranked Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz division boosted sales 7.3 percent to 121,360 cars and SUVs.
Source: Bloomberg
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Ford's Lincoln Cuts Back on Free Maintenance

It's being cut in half even as General Motors adds it

As General Motors was extending free maintenance on most of its 2014 models, rival Ford's Lincoln division was cutting it back. Lincoln had one of the most generous free maintenance programs in the industry, four years or 50,000 miles. Now, says Automotive News, it's being cut in half to two years or 24,000 miles. That will put in line with General Motors, which last week decided to extend the free maintenance on Cadillac models since 2011 to the rest of its line: Buick, Chevrolet and GMC. Lincoln said it was making its move because it puts the free maintenance schedule in line with 24-month leases and that it is competitive with other brands.
Source: USA Today
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Tesla Motors Shares Face Drain From Pricey Batteries

Shares of Tesla Motors Inc, which makes electric cars that are widely praised for performance, could fall more than 50 percent unless the company can get stronger, cheaper batteries that will allow it to cut the $90,000-plus vehicle sticker price in half, Barron's said. The company's current Model S is too expensive to attract the hundreds of thousands of buyers each year needed to support the stock price, Barron's said in its June 10 edition. Its shares traded at $102.04 on Friday and have ranged from $25.52 in August to $114.90 last month. They could be worth as little as $50, according to Barron's.
Source: Reuters
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GM R&D Boss Hints At Tesla-Surpassing Batteries

Unlike Tesla Motors which has gone on record saying by 2016 it will offer a Nissan Leaf-beating, 200-mile-range electric car in the low $30,000-range, General Motors plays its hand much closer to its chest, but it would be inadvisable to think the giant is sleeping. On Wednesday this week at the annual conference of Canada's Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, GM's head of global R&D let his guard down slightly in saying prototype electric cars now being evaluated on U.S. test tracks have triple the energy density of a Chevrolet Volt, and close to double that of a Tesla Model S.
Source: HybridCars.com
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Quotable
"We're really bumping up against the edge. So it really is brick-and-mortar time." 

      --- Michael Robinet, managing director of IHS Automotive, commenting on automaker's plans to go on a hiring spree to meet consumer demand for new vehicles, Associated Press, June 9

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