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Inside this issue
Paradox at Ford: Profits are Soaring as Problems Mount
Open All Night: America's Car Factories
Editorial: A Fresh Challenge
Infiniti Chief Aims For Germans With Three Ps
Hybrid, Electric Bus Maker Files For Bankruptcy
Chicago Dealers Host Fundraisers in 40 Communities
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Paradox at Ford: Profits are Soaring as Problems Mount

MyFord Touch. Lincoln MKZ. C-Max. All were heavily promoted as innovative products that would help Ford Motor Co. pull customers from rivals and cement the company's position as a technology leader. Instead, each has come back to bite the automaker. Ford's stumbles have done little to slow its sales and market-share growth. But they have taken some air out of a company that had transformed its image under CEO Alan Mulally, becoming the darling of the Detroit 3 by shunning a government bailout and avoiding Bankruptcy Court. By reducing the EPA fuel economy rating for the C-Max Hybrid by 9 percent last week, Ford hoped to contain a controversy that has dogged it for months. Ford's admission that it had not tested the C-Max, instead invoking a rule that let it use numbers for the Fusion hybrid, only adds to the company's list of recent problems. Although Ford sales and profits have been booming, the company has been struggling with a heavy schedule of vehicle launches.
Source: Automotive News
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Open All Night: America's Car Factories

More U.S. auto plants are cranking out cars around the clock like never before, a change that is driving robust profit increases at Detroit's Big Three. After years of layoffs, plant closures and corporate bankruptcies, U.S. auto makers and parts suppliers are pushing factories to the limits. At General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, more flexible union agreements now allow the companies to build cars for 120 hours a week or more while paying less in overtime pay. Nearly 40% of car factories in North America now operate on work schedules that push production well past 80 hours a week, compared with 11% in 2008, said Ron Harbour, a senior partner with the Oliver Wyman Inc. management consulting firm. "There has never been a time in the U.S. industry that we've had this high a level of capacity utilization," he said.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Editorial: A Fresh Challenge

U.S. auto sales are strong and headed for a fourth consecutive year of growth. Forecasters see no impending crisis and expect industry volume to hit the mid-15 million unit level this year, with further gains likely in 2014 and beyond. Automakers, suppliers and dealers are maintaining the discipline they learned to survive the Great Recession. Auto production is closely matched with sales. Inventories are lean. Factory incentives are modest and targeted. Transaction prices are high and rising. Nearly everybody is profitable.

But this expansion is maturing. As companies shift from recovery mode to sustained growth, fresh challenges emerge. U.S. auto sales are rising, but a surge of redesigned and all-new products means even established models will struggle to hold their own. And because the United States is a global hot spot, everybody makes it a priority target. It's game on. Companies not fully prepared to shift from surviving to thriving risk being run over by those that are.
Source: Automotive News

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Infiniti Chief Aims For Germans With Three Ps

He wants passionate owners, not just value conscious ones

The president of Infiniti will tell you right off the bat: the luxury auto brand is not where he thinks it needs to be. Too many Infiniti vehicles are being sold on pure value, not because they seduce customers as an emotional gotta-have proposition like the three big German luxury brands do, Johan de Nysschen says. De Nysschen knows something about that. He came to Infiniti from Audi, where he was the head of North America. He took a sleepy brand and turned it into a giant slayer, making it the luxury vehicle of choice for young Hollywood and other strivers. BMW took notice because, basically, Audi was borrowing its own playbook, the one it used to make inroads against Mercedes-Benz a generation before. De Nysschen, over dinner here as a prelude to the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance over the weekend, laid out a plan that rests on three Ps: passion, performance and precision.
Source: USA Today
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Hybrid, Electric Bus Maker Files For Bankruptcy

A Charlotte-based manufacturer of hybrid and electric buses has filed for bankruptcy protection following several weeks of furloughs and layoffs. The Charlotte Observer reports that federal court documents show DesignLine has assets of $14 million and debts of $37.5 million. DesignLine is the former employer of U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who was Charlotte's mayor until the Senate confirmed President Obama's nominee in June. The company's largest creditor is New Jersey Transit, which has paid $3.6 million for buses it hasn't received.
Source: Associated Press
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Chicago Dealers Host Fundraisers in 40 Communities

On a mission to raise both awareness and funds, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA) teamed up with the USO of Illinois this summer to host community fundraising events in more than 40 communities. On July 20, 70 CATA dealerships joined forces and hosted individual USO Barbecue for the Troops events, collectively raising $37,500 for local troops and their families. The CATA conducted a formal check presentation during the USO of Illinois' Clark After Dark annual block party event.
Source: The Chicago Tribune
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More Articles
 
Quotable
"It's game on. Companies not fully prepared to shift from surviving to thriving risk being run over by those that are." 

   
-- Automotive News in an editorial on the challenges that will emerge as auto makers shift from recovery mode to sustained growth, Aug. 19
NADA Market Beat
July Sales Down From June, But Beat July 2012
Chairman's Column
'Accelerate' Your Business at the NADA Convention in New Orleans
Videos

 
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NADA Webinars
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- Aug. 21: Redefine the Aftermarket Customer Experience

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 For more information about the webinars, click here.

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