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Inside this issue
U.S. Audit Questions GM's Competitiveness
GM Bolsters N.A. Earnings, Cuts European Losses
Chrysler 3Q Earnings Surge 22% to $464 Million
VW Operating Profit Up 20% Amid Cost Cuts
Honda Quarterly Profit Up 46 Percent On US Sales
Auto Execs Survey: VW, Hyundai to Gain U.S. Share
Domestic and European OEMs Stake Claim in Consumer Reports' Annual Auto Reliability Rankings
100 Years Down the Line
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
U.S. Audit Questions GM's Competitiveness

A government audit Tuesday said General Motors Co. has shown increasingly positive results, but questions remain about its competitveness. The Government Accountability Office — which issues audits on companies that received significant assistance under the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program — said the Detroit-automaker had improved since 2008, but it still raised concerns. “Although GM's financial performance has improved significantly since the company initially received federal assistance, questions remain about competitiveness and costs,” GAO said. The Treasury received a 61 percent stake in GM in 2009 as part of its $49.5 billion bailout of the Detroit automaker. The report said Treasury in September “had projected approximately at least a 19 percent loss on its GM investment.” That's in line with a report released Tuesday from the special inspector general overseeing TARP that said Treasury had booked a $9.7 billion loss on the sale of 811 million of its 912 million GM shares. The report cited a Oct. 3 phone call with Treasury. Treasury’s assistant secretary overseeing the Wall Street and auto bailouts, Tim Massad, told GAO that “we still expect to complete the exit from GM by the first quarter of 2014.”
Source: The Detroit News

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GM Bolsters N.A. Earnings, Cuts European Losses

General Motors continued to trim its losses in Europe in the third quarter and posted stout earnings in North America on strong production of trucks and SUVs. GM's net income fell 53 percent from a year earlier, to $698 million, hurt by one-time expenses, including $800 million related to the repurchase of 120 million preferred shares from the UAW's health-care trust during the quarter. Earnings before interest and taxes and excluding those nonrecurring items -- the figure that GM considers the best measure of its results -- rose 15 percent, to $2.64 billion. Rising production of trucks, which are high-margin products, and better pricing in both North and South America helped the bottom line, GM said. Revenue rose 4 percent to $38.98 billion. The overall result marks GM's 15th straight quarterly profit since the company emerged from its 2009 bankruptcy.
Source: Automotive News
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Chrysler 3Q Earnings Surge 22% to $464 Million

Chrysler's third-quarter earnings rose 22% to $484 million, as the automaker sold more pickup trucks and SUVs. Revenue increased 13.5% to $17.6 billion from $15.5 billion a year earlier. “Chrysler Group's ninth consecutive quarter of positive net income highlights our commitment to producing award-winning vehicles for consumers, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Ram 1500,” Chrysler Group LLC,” Chrysler Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement.
Source: Detroit Free Press
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VW Operating Profit Up 20% Amid Cost Cuts

Volkswagen posted a 20 percent increase in third-quarter operating profit as Europe's largest automaker cut costs to compensate for a slumping market in its home region that's pressuring manufacturers to lower car prices. Earnings before interest and taxes rose to 2.78 billion euros ($3.82 billion), Wolfsburg, Germany-based VW said. Revenue fell 3.8 percent to 47 billion euros ($64.69 billion).
Source: Bloomberg
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Honda Quarterly Profit Up 46 Percent On US Sales

Honda's quarterly profit rose 46 percent in the latest quarter as higher car sales in the U.S. and motorcycle shipments to Asia offset costs from plant openings. Revenue rose 27 percent in the July-September quarter to 2.89 trillion yen ($29.4 billion), with net income at 120.3 billion yen ($1.2 billion), the Tokyo-based company said Wednesday.
Source: Associated Press
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Auto Execs Survey: VW, Hyundai to Gain U.S. Share

Volkswagen AG and Hyundai Motor Co. are the most likely to gain U.S. market share during the next five years, a survey found. Sixty-three percent of automotive-industry executives who took part in Booz & Co.'s annual confidence survey said Hyundai and Kia are likely to increase share while 60 percent believe Volkswagen and Audi will gain. The third-highest response was for Ford Motor Co. with 43 percent predicting more growth than in the total industry. The latest findings from the annual U.S. Automotive Industry Survey and Confidence Index conducted online in July and August by Booz follow results released in September that found that 96 percent of automaker executives perceive the industry as “much better” or “somewhat better” than a year ago. Among auto-supplier executives, 88 percent said the industry is better than a year earlier. At the same time, those surveyed are beginning to fret that automakers will offer profit-sapping discounts to keep sales rolling. Respondents said they expect a slowing of U.S. sales growth from 2014 through 2017 as the compounded annual rate drops to 1.4 percent from more than 10 percent from 2010 to 2013, according to Booz, which partnered with Bloomberg News for the survey.
Source: Bloomberg
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Domestic and European OEMs Stake Claim in Consumer Reports' Annual Auto Reliability Rankings

Japanese brands usually make up most of the honorees in Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability rankings, but the 2013 edition includes a good representation from domestic and European automakers. In fact, three of the Top 10 spots went to those other OEMs as Audi, Volvo, and GMC captured accolades in the survey released on Monday during a press conference before the Automotive Press Association in Detroit. Three Japanese brands — Lexus, Toyota, and Acura — captured the top three spots in the survey, which was conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. The survey is believed to be the largest of its kind as findings are based on CR subscribers' experiences with 1.1 million vehicles. Consumer Reports uses the survey data to compile reliability histories on vehicles and predict how well new cars that are currently on sale will hold up.
Source: Auto Remarketing
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100 Years Down the Line

The moving assembly line was the simplest of inventions, born of necessity to meet the exploding demand for automobiles in America in the early 20th century. And while it turned 100 years old this month, “the line” remains as integral to the progress of the auto industry as it was in the days of Henry Ford. The assembly line is a constantly evolving industrial ballet of workers and robots building cars. And automakers like the Ford Motor Company are finding that building multiple models on the same line is a huge key to success in the intensely competitive global marketplace. Updating the assembly line is a big part of the “One Ford” corporate strategy that has helped the nation's second-biggest automaker lead the recent recovery of the American auto industry. “There are probably very few inventions in the auto industry that started 100 years ago and are still here today,” said John Fleming, Ford's executive vice president for global manufacturing. So much has changed in the industry since Mr. Ford installed the first, rudimentary assembly line at his company's Model T plant in Highland Park, Mich., in October 1913. But automakers around the world use essentially the same basic method of mass production, turning a bare automotive chassis at one end of the line into a finished car at the other.
Source: The New York Times
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Quotable
"The assembly line is a constantly evolving industrial ballet of workers and robots building cars."

   --- Bill Vlasic, in an article on the 100th anniversary of the assembly line, The New York Times, Oct. 29

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