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Inside this issue
Industry Must Steer Clear of the Off-Lease Trap
M-B Prepares to Update Dealership Standards
GM to Shift Production in Asia
Fiat Said to Spend $12 Billion for Made-in-Italy Luxury
Survey: Gen Y Wants Self-Driving Car Features
Feds Making New Rules for Senior Drivers
Cleveland Auto Dealers Present Cleveland Foodbank with $50,000 Check to Feed the Hungry
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Industry Must Steer Clear of the Off-Lease Trap

The number of vehicles coming off lease is rising and will grow even more in 2014. The flow slowed to a trickle during the recession as new-vehicle sales plunged and credit for leasing dried up. But leasing started to perk up three years ago, fueled by low interest rates, easy credit and rising residual values, enabling automakers to offer lower monthly payments while preserving profits. The leasing rebound means more off-lease customers are starting to return to the market. Those off-lease customers have been the last missing element of a normal auto marketplace. It's a heady opportunity. And a potential trap. Automakers, sobered by hard times, have successfully maintained market discipline since 2009: matching production to demand, keeping their inventories low and incentives carefully targeted. Suddenly, retaining or capturing off-lease customers is a fresh challenge to that discipline.
Source: Automotive News
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M-B Prepares to Update Dealership Standards

Effort comes as brand seeks to attract younger customers

Mercedes-Benz is laying the groundwork for revisions to its dealership standards, in conjunction with an initiative to reach out to younger buyers. No changes to the brand's U.S. dealership standards are expected soon, said the executive in charge of the initiative. But in a wide-ranging interview last month at the Tokyo Motor Show, Jens Thiemer, head of brand communications for Mercedes-Benz Cars, stressed that Mercedes plans marketing and branding changes to become more relevant to a new group of consumers. His goal, he said, is to reposition Mercedes so that younger consumers view it as "not just a brand that they say, 'That's a brand I [will] buy later' or 'That's a brand my parents buy' but 'That's a brand for me right now.'"
Source: Automotive News
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GM to Shift Production in Asia

Auto maker readies concerted attack on most troubled international units

General Motors Co. is preparing a concerted attack on its most troubled international operations that would entail big output cuts at factories in South Korea and likely an end to production in Australia, said people familiar with the auto maker's plans. GM intends to close its two Australian plants and separately slash production in South Korea by as much as 20% by 2016, these people said. The moves come on top of a planned factory closing in Germany and last week's decision to end Chevrolet sales in Europe in two years.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Fiat Said to Spend $12 Billion for Made-in-Italy Luxury

Fiat SpA plans to invest as much as 9 billion euros ($12.3 billion) on new models to end European losses in three years and revive nearly empty Italian factories, two people familiar with the matter said. In addition to bolstering the upscale Maserati and Alfa Romeo marques with new “Made in Italy” models, the carmaker will focus the Fiat line on variants of the trendy 500 subcompact and the budget-oriented Panda small car, ditching a former best seller, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. With the timing of Fiat's sought-after merger with Chrysler Group LLC uncertain, Sergio Marchionne, who is chief executive officer of both carmakers, is under pressure to stem the Italian manufacturer's losses in Europe. While Fiat has previously said it aims to develop about 20 new models for Europe by 2016, including eight Alfa Romeos, the company has declined to comment on a revised European strategy until April.
Source: Bloomberg
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Survey: Gen Y Wants Self-Driving Car Features

Whether its automatic braking or lane-keeping systems, Millennials says bring it on

If you're wondering why automakers seem so hellbent all of a sudden on developing driverless car, blame Gen Y. The technologies that Gen Y consumers want the most in a new car are the same safety systems that would be found in driverless cars, a new survey by Accenture consulting finds. The survey covered 14,000 drivers in 12 countries, including the U.S. At present, Millennials make up about a third of all U.S. drivers. They are the rising generation of car buyers that the industry craves the most. They outranked those of their parent's generation, Boomers, in the survey when it came to desire for autonomous driving technologies.
Source: USA Today
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Feds Making New Rules for Senior Drivers

The five-year plan is aimed at dealing with more older people behind the wheel

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a new five-year strategic plan to improve safety for elderly drivers and passengers. Although they are statistically among the safest on the road, the number of older drivers is increasing dramatically — and with it, that group's numbers of injuries and deaths. Since 2003, the population of older adults, defined as age 65 and older, has increased by 20% and the number of licensed older drivers increased by 21% to 35 million in 2012, according to NHTSA. Click here for the three key areas NHTSA's strategic plan will focus on.  
Source: Cars.com
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Cleveland Auto Dealers Present Cleveland Foodbank with $50,000 Check to Feed the Hungry

The Cleveland Foodbank got a big boost Thursday from the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers Association when the dealers presented the foodbank with a $50,000 check.The money will be used as part of a larger matching gift challenge from the foodbank.
Source: News Channel 5 (Cleveland, Ohio)
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