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Inside this issue
They're Back: Japanese Automakers Target U.S. Sales Records
Fiat Says Chrysler Will Not Proceed With IPO This Year
The Federal Reserve and CFPB Announce Jan. 1 Increase in TILA and Consumer Leasing Act Thresholds
Opinion: Has Elon Musk's PR Machine Met its Match?
Fuel Cells at Center Stage
U.S. Loses $139 Million on Fisker Sale
Nissan Enlists Teens to Assist in Luring Future Young Buyers
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
They're Back: Japanese Automakers Target U.S. Sales Records

After five trying years, the Japanese are looking like a juggernaut again in the United States. All but Mitsubishi are predicting record U.S. sales -- if not this year or next, then within two years. And the optimism appears well-founded, encouraged by new plants in Mexico, a wave of fresh products, and profits inflated by the weaker yen vs. the dollar. "Hopefully it's going to continue like this for a long time," Nissan Motor Corp. CEO Carlos Ghosn said at the Tokyo Motor Show. "There is a huge potential." The buoyant mood was echoed by Japan brand executives across the board. The U.S. sales of Japanese carmakers as a group are poised to rival the combined all-time record of 5,961,524 units booked in 2007.
Source: Automotive News

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Fiat Says Chrysler Will Not Proceed With IPO This Year

Fiat SpA, the majority owner of Chrysler Group LLC, said the American automaker will not carry out an initial public offering this year. The Chrysler board determined after speaking with the carmaker's underwriters that a share sale in 2013 is no longer feasible, Turin, Italy-based Fiat said in a statement. Chrysler will continue to work on the IPO and may move forward with the process in the first quarter. “No assurance can be given as to whether or when an offering will be launched,” Fiat said in the statement. “Any launch will be subject to market conditions and other relevant considerations.” A United Auto Workers trust and Fiat are disputing the company's value as Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of both carmakers, seeks to buy the UAW fund's 41.5 percent stake. The trust is working to determine whether to sell its holding to Fiat directly or press forward with an IPO.
Source: Bloomberg
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The Federal Reserve and CFPB Announce Jan. 1 Increase in TILA and Consumer Leasing Act Thresholds

The Federal Reserve Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that the dollar thresholds in Regulation Z (Truth in Lending Act) and Regulation M (Consumer Leasing Act) for exempt consumer credit and lease transactions will increase to $53,500 beginning Jan. 1, 2014. This means that beginning Jan. 1, 2014, consumer credit transactions and consumer leases at or below $53,500 are subject to the protections of the regulations. These increases are consistent with the Dodd-Frank Act amendments to the Truth in Lending Act and the Consumer Leasing Act to adjust these thresholds annually by the annual percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index.
Source: NADA Regulatory Affairs
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Opinion: Has Elon Musk's PR Machine Met its Match?
By Gabe Nelson

Tesla Motors Inc. CEO Elon Musk has stridently insisted that the recent spate of battery fires in Model S sedans is being blown out of proportion. He may be right, but a good public relations strategy requires more than that. And last week, by chafing the regulators who will determine whether the Model S fires are a sign of a defect that must be fixed, Musk showed that young Tesla still has a lot to learn. Under Musk's watch, Tesla has built an image as a company that breaks all the rules of the auto industry and yet beats all the loftiest of expectations. It has gotten out that message with the guns-a-blazin' PR operation led by the prickly Musk, who has personally challenged critics over Twitter and on the company's official blog. The approach has proved effective when Musk has called out politicians determined to see electric cars fail, uninformed journalists and auto industry groupthink. But the freewheeling communication style does not sit so well with regulators.
Source: Automotive News
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Fuel Cells at Center Stage

Like thick-rim glasses, Doc Martens and so many other things that fell out of favor only to spring back to popularity years later, fuel-cell cars have resurfaced. In Tokyo on Wednesday, Toyota was the first automaker in the new season of international auto shows to reveal its fresh take on this headline-grabbing technology, quickly followed by Honda and Hyundai in Los Angeles. All three automakers unveiled new design studies intended to signal that fuel-cell vehicles, which produce zero tailpipe pollutants, are ever so close to production. Each concept vehicle demonstrated progress in the efficiency and packaging of their fuel-cell systems, which generate electricity onboard by combining hydrogen and oxygen and emit only water vapor. What these automakers failed to deliver in terms of specifics they offset with lofty promises of a real and rapidly approaching hydrogen-based future.
Source: The New York Times
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U.S. Loses $139 Million on Fisker Sale

Fisker Automotive Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday and the Energy Department sold its green-energy loan for $25 million to investor group Hybrid Tech LLC. Taxpayers will lose $139 million on the $192 million loan to the failed electric vehicle startup, the Energy Department confirmed Friday. Hybrid Technology agreed to purchase the $170 million loan made to Fisker. "This purchase marks the first step towards an acquisition of Fisker's assets by an affiliate of HT that will eventually lead to the restarting of production and distribution of the Karma sedan, as well as the development and production of future advanced hybrid electric vehicles," the company said. Fisker was the maker of the Karma luxury-sports plug-in hybrid sedan, which was designed and developed in California and sold in the United States and Europe. “
Source: The Detroit News
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Nissan Enlists Teens to Assist in Luring Future Young Buyers

Ask teenagers to design a car that appeals to young buyers and you might expect something modern, even futuristic. But when Nissan tried it, the youngsters went all retro. One hundred teens from around the world consulted with Nissan designers on a rear-wheel-drive sports coupe. The results, unveiled last week at the Tokyo Motor Show, were the IDx Freeflow and the IDx Nismo, which bear a striking resemblance to the Datsun 510, a sports sedan produced from 1968 to 1974. That was at least two decades before any of the consultants were born. "There are hints of the 510 in there," says Andy Palmer, Nissan global product planning chief. "They have heard of it. They talked to us about the 510 being a part of the brand. That was part of the inspiration." He says the concepts are the result of an online effort to enlist teens to develop a car they might buy someday.
Source: Automotive News

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"The American market, with its market size, vehicle ownership, and population size and growth has great potential for long-term, sustainable growth. It's an ideal market."

   
-- Toyota President Akio Toyoda, commenting on Japanese auto sales growing in the U.S., Automotive News, Nov. 25
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