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Inside this issue
Automakers: 'Short-term' Government Shutdown Shouldn't Impact Auto Sales
Ford, Chrysler Big Winners as U.S. Volume Slips 4%
Mercedes Widens 2013 U.S. Luxury Lead
Electric Vehicle Sales Slow in September
GM Rolls Out Deals on New Pickups as Sales Slide
Ford's Mulally Dispels Microsoft CEO Rumors
A New Game of Thrones at General Motors
Hyundai Gives Loan Breaks to Idled Federal Workers
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Automakers: 'Short-term' Government Shutdown Shouldn't Impact Auto Sales

Automaker economists and sales analysts on Tuesday acknowledged a lengthy congressional impasse on the U.S. budget could eventually take its toll on the industry. Kurt McNeil, General Motors Co.'s vice president of U.S. sales operations, said a quick resolution to the stalemate — something short of a couple of weeks — would minimize any impact on the auto industry. Jenny Lin, Ford Motor Co.'s senior U.S. economist, said during a conference call that consumer confidence — a major indicator of auto sales — is one aspect of the economy that “no one can predict." But she acknowledged that “any type of disruption in government operations would adversely affect spending, consumer confidence and financial markets.”
Source: The Detroit News
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Ford, Chrysler Big Winners as U.S. Volume Slips 4%

Sales rate hits 15.3 million, slowest since April

U.S. sales of light vehicles slipped 4 percent last month as automakers were dragged down by a quirk in the industry's reporting schedule and signs of skittish consumers. Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group were the only major automakers in the winners column, where they were joined by Subaru, BMW Group and Jaguar Land Rover. Sales fell at General Motors, Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and the Hyundai-Kia Group. The seasonally adjusted sales rate -- a broad measure of the industry's health -- rose to 15.3 million units last month from 14.8 million in September 2012. Still, it was the weakest SAAR reading since April's 15.2 million rate. The results were in line with analysts' forecasts for the first monthly decline in U.S. demand since May 2011.
Source: Automotive News

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Mercedes Widens 2013 U.S. Luxury Lead

Mercedes-Benz sold more than 2,300 of its $29,900 CLA coupe in its first week of availability, helping the brand post a 6.7 percent September gain and widen its U.S. luxury-vehicle lead. The September results expanded Mercedes's lead for 2013 to 2,491 vehicles, 215,056 to 212,565, up from a margin of 1,362 through August. BMW has sold the most luxury vehicles in the U.S. the past two years. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said in July he expected his company to come up short again in 2013.
Source: Bloomberg
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Electric Vehicle Sales Slow in September

Electric vehicle sales lagged in September after a very strong August that was fueled by new discounts. General Motors Co. said sales of its plug-in hybrid electric Chevrolet Volt fell 38 percent to 1,766 in September, down from 2,851 in September 2012. But in August, GM sold 3,351 Volts after announcing a hefty price cut. GM slashed the base price of its plug-in hybrid by $5,000, from $39,995 to $34,995, making it the latest automaker to lower prices of electric vehicles in the face of lagging consumer demand. For the first nine months of the year, Volt sales are up just 2.5 percent to 16,760. GM spokeswoman Michelle Malcho said Volt sales were low in some top markets. “It was a slower month for the EV market overall,” she said.
Source: The Detroit News
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GM Rolls Out Deals on New Pickups as Sales Slide

General Motors is rolling out fresh incentives on its redesigned 2014 pickups, after demand for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra declined in September amid heavy discounts by rivals Ford and Ram. Sales of GM's full-sized pickups fell 8 percent last month. GM said 2014 models accounted for about 60 percent of September volume. For October, GM is offering $1,000 in customer cash on the '14 Silverado and an additional $500 on some higher-priced packages, such as the All Star and Texas editions, according to a document sent to dealers. GM also is offering a new "sales manager bonus program" that will award dealers a $200 bonus for each eligible '14 Silverado sale.
Source: Automotive News
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Ford's Mulally Dispels Microsoft CEO Rumors

With resurfacing rumors about the possibility of Ford CEO Alan Mulally moving to Microsoft to run the software giant, Mulally himself downplays the speculation.

Despite resurfaced rumors that he is on the very short list to replace outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer at Microsoft, Ford CEO Alan Mulally maintains that that is not in his plans. "I love serving Ford and have nothing new to add to (my) plans to continue serving Ford," he said in an exclusive interview with USA TODAY. Over the last several weeks, media reports have mentioned Mulally as the leading candidate to succeed Ballmer as the software giant's CEO. Mulally is known for his ability to turnaround troubled companies. Before coming to Ford in 2006, Mulally spent 37 years at Boeing where he helped outflank competitor Airbus with the Boeing 777 jetliner. At Ford, he ushered in transparency and transformed the car maker into a leaner company.
Source: USA Today

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A New Game of Thrones at General Motors

Largest U.S. Auto maker assigns some of its most vexing problems to contenders

General Motors Co. Chief Executive Dan Akerson hasn't exactly said when he is leaving, but he has orchestrated a four-way contest among the leading internal candidates for his chair. The field vying to run the world's largest auto maker include two longtime GM executives, and two relative newcomers. Vice Chairman Stephen Girsky and Chief Financial Officer Daniel Ammann are veterans of Wall Street but have relatively few years at the company. North American operations chief Mark Reuss and global product development chief Mary Barra fought their way up GM's bureaucracy, survived the company's 2009 bankruptcy and together have 63 years at GM between them. All are under 55, and thus could potentially lead the company for as long as a decade or more if, as many GM insiders expect, Mr. Akerson leaves by early 2015. That would mark a return to the kind of stability at the top that GM hasn't had since the 2008 financial crisis put it on the fast-track to bankruptcy. Mr. Akerson is GM's fourth CEO since the Lehman Bros. crisis.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Hyundai Gives Loan Breaks to Idled Federal Workers

Hyundai, always quick to jump on breaking news, has come up with a smart way to tap into sympathy for furloughed federal workers. It says it is launching a payment deferral program for those who aren't working because of the government shutdown. Hyundai says it will extend auto loan and lease payments during the shutdown for current Hyundai owners who are furloughed. "We recognize the impact on family budgets that the furlough will drive," says John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, in a statement. "Like we did almost four years ago when we launched Hyundai Assurance, this is our way of saying 'We've got your back' during this uncertain time." Hyundai Assurance was the program launched at the height of the recession to give relief to people who had lost their jobs.
Source: USA Today
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Quotable
"September was a solid month for the auto industry despite two fewer selling days. Industry fundamentals are strong as interest rates stay low and consumers remain confident." 

   
-- Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota division, commenting on September auto sales, Automotive News, Oct. 1
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