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Inside this issue
Escape From Detroit: The Auto Industry Heads South
Debt Rating Firm Warns on Chrysler IPO
Automakers Boost Q4 Production Plans
EPA to Go Public with Results of Vehicle MPG Audits
Gas Price Drop Renews Interest in Thirstier Cars
D.C.-Area Dealer Offers Discounts to Furloughed Feds
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Escape From Detroit: The Auto Industry Heads South

Auto industry jobs in North America are moving south, and soon the U.S. could have fewer than half the total automotive jobs in the North American Free Trade Agreement zone that includes Mexico and Canada, according to a Brookings Institution report due for release Oct. 4. U.S. states looking to snag more auto jobs must contend with the rapid evolution of Mexico from a low-wage country that assembled mainly low-technology components to a nation that global auto makers are comfortable choosing as a site for assembling sophisticated, luxury cars, says Mark Muro, a Brookings researcher and a co-author of the report. Jobs are moving to Mexico, but another beneficiary has been closer to home: Tennessee.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Debt Rating Firm Warns on Chrysler IPO

Fitch ratings said Fiat needs unrestricted access to Chrysler's cash

A Chrysler Group LLC public stock offering could threaten the credit rating of majority holder Fiat SpA by further complicating the Italian auto maker's hold on its U.S. partner and pushing back Fiat's ability to further access Chrysler's cash, according to credit rating firm Fitch Ratings. In an analysis released on Thursday, Fitch said Fiat needs to complete its merger with Chrysler to refinance the U.S. auto maker's debt and gain full access to Chrysler's cash. "Ultimately, Fiat's rating will reflect the group's ability, or lack of, to access Chrysler's cash and cash flows without restriction," Fitch said. Fitch noted that its analysis doesn't change Fiat's current rating of BB- but its advisory signaled the stock sale's potential harm to Fiat debtholders.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Automakers Boost Q4 Production Plans

Although Ford has yet to be heard from, remaining North American automakers are boosting October-December production plans by 3.2%, or 124,500 units. The 4,037,300 vehicles now set for Q4 completion equal a 3.6% gain on prior-year's 3,895,700 assemblies, bringing 2013 to a close on a stronger note than had been forecast earlier. Together with a stronger-than-expected third-quarter finish, now estimated at 3,926,800 vehicles, up 21,100 from a month ago, production for the year is projected to reach 16,380,200 units.
Source: WardsAuto
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EPA to Go Public with Results of Vehicle MPG Audits

After cracking down on Hyundai, Kia and Ford, the EPA is preparing to shine a more public spotlight on automakers' fuel economy claims. This fall, the agency plans to release the results of industrywide audits that included tests on more than 20 car and light-truck models this year, said Christopher Grundler, head of the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, in an interview last week. The audits, done at tracks in Arizona and Michigan, were meant to double-check automakers' readings on the "coast-down" test -- the test that turned up problems with the mpg numbers on many of Hyundai's and Kia's window stickers last year, and has led the companies to spend millions of dollars compensating vehicle owners. Grundler, who was recently briefed on the results, said he can't comment on what the EPA found until he talks to his bosses and briefs executives from the car companies. But he said the upcoming report "will be very interesting to some people."
Source: Automotive News
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Gas Price Drop Renews Interest in Thirstier Cars

A study finds a dip in the average fuel economy of vehicles

Following months of steady gains, the average fuel economy for 2013 light-duty vehicles sold in the U.S. dipped in September, a new study finds. Researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute — who calculate average sales-weighted fuel economy using monthly sales of individual models of cars, SUVs, vans and pickup trucks, as well as respective models' EPA fuel-economy ratings — attribute the decrease to recent reductions in the price of gasoline. The "window-sticker" fuel-economy value of new vehicles sold in September was 24.6 miles per gallon, down 0.3 mpg since August; that follows 0.1 mpg gains in both July and August, after a slight dip in June.
Source: Cars.com
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D.C.-Area Dealer Offers Discounts to Furloughed Feds

ON FURLOUGH? BUY A CAR! It sure seems like there's a shutdown silver lining for furloughed feds, especially for car-buyers. On the heels of Hyundai delaying payments for affected employees, a D.C.-area dealer is giving free oil changes, tire rotations and inspections to sidelined federal workers. But the big deal Koons of Silver Spring is offering is employee pricing and no payments for three months if you're temporarily off the government job but want to buy a new or used car.
Source: POLITICO

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Quotable
"Within five years we are looking at the U.S. moving below 50%. That’s a huge juncture that will likely happen." 

   
-- Mark Muro, a Brookings Institute researcher, commenting on a recent report that predicts the U.S. could have fewer than half the total automotive jobs in the North American Free Trade Agreement Zone, The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 4
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